Skip to main content

Full text of "The Dewey School The Laboratory School Of The University Of Chicago 1896-1903"

See other formats


125584 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 


JOHN   DEWEY,   ABOUT    1890 


The  Dewey  School 

THE  LABORATORY  SCHOOL  OF  THE 

UNIVERSITY  OF  CHICAGO 

1896-1903 


By 
KATHERINE  CAMP  MAYHEW 

and 
ANNA  CAMP  EDWARDS 


*  Introduction  by 
JOHN  DEWEY 


D.   APPLETON-CENTURY    COMPANY 

IN  CORPORATE!* 

NEW  YORK  LONDON 


1936,     BY 

COMPANY,  INC. 

rights     reserved,.     "This     book,^    or    parts 
must    not    be    reproduced    in    any 
permission  of  the  publishers. 


PRINTED     INT     XHE     XTNIXED     STATES     OF    AMERICA 


PREFACE 

The  increasing  number  of  progressive  schools  throughout  the 
world  shows  the  wide  and  fast  growing  interest  on  the  part  of 
parents  and  educators  in  an  educational  experience  for  their 
children  which  they  do  not  find  in  schools  of  the  more  tradi- 
tional types.  This  interest  renders  an  account  of  an  early  organ- 
ized experiment  in  progressive  education  suitable  and  timely. 

This  school  was  a  cooperative  venture  of  parents,  teachers, 
and  educators,  and  was  carried  on  at  the  University  of  Chicago 
during  the  years  from  1896  to  1903.  Under  the  direction  of  John 
Dewey,  then  head  of  the  University's  unified  departments  of 
Philosophy,  Psychology,  and  Pedagogy,  the  undertaking  grew 
out  of  a  genuine  desire  to  work  out  with  children  an  edu- 
cational experience  more  creative  than  that  provided  by  even 
the  best  of  the  current  systems. 

The  school  was  a  laboratory  for  the  departments  of  Psychol- 
ogy and  Pedagogy  where  Mr.  Dewey's  educational  theories  and 
their  sociological  implications  were  worked  out  in  accord  with 
the  then  new  psychological  principles  and  in  association  with 
colleagues  and  students,  the  teachers  in  the  school,  and  the  par- 
ents of  the  children.  It  was  never  a  "practice"  school. 

The  book  has  been  called  The  Dewey  School  not  because 
Mr.  Dewey  as  its  head  ever  exercised  any  of  the  dominance  too 
often  evident  in  a  "One  man's  school."  Rather  was  the  title 
chosen  out  of  gratitude  to  the  great  person  who  made  the  school 
possible  by  his  objective  and  impersonal  attitude  of  faith  in 
the  growing  ability  of  every  individual,  whether  child  or 
teacher.  Mr.  Dewey  was  never  dominating.  His  respect  for  the 
opinions  of  even  the  youngest  and  least  experienced  of  his  staff 
bore  fruit  in  the  creative  character  of  the  work  done.  Only  a 
person  who  has  worked  in  such  an  atmosphere  can  understand 
what  inspiration  to  creative  work  such  freedom  gives.  After 
all,  teaching  is  a  creative  social  art.  Mr.  Dewey's  philosophy 


vi  PREFACE 

expressed  through  his  personality  stimulated  others  and  re- 
leased their  powers  so  that  all  who  understood  his  point  of 
view  worked  freely  and  cooperatively  under  his  guidance. 

The  subtitle  of  the  book,  The  Laboratory  School  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Chicago,  indicates  its  relation  to  the  University,  al- 
ways a  source  of  direct  and  indirect  help  and  backing.  Without 
this  direction  from  experts,  the  teachers,  functioning  creatively 
in  their  daily  experience,  would  have  traveled  many  more  blind 
alleys  than  they  did.  Had  this  experiment  been  allowed  to 
come  to  fruition,  it  would  have  presented  the  first  example  of 
a  unified  enterprise  in  education  at  all  age  levels. 

The  slowly  evolving  curriculum  of  the  Dewey  School  in  both 
subject-matter  and  method  was  the  result  of  the  combined  ex- 
perimental efforts  of  trained  specialists.  These  chapters  should 
reveal  that  it  was  scientifically  developed.  Great  emphasis  was 
given  to  the  use  of  directed  experimental  method  in  all  areas 
of  study.  The  main  hypothesis  was  that  life  itself,  especially 
those  occupations  and  associations  which  serve  man's  chief 
needs,  should  furnish  the  ground  experience  for  the  education 
of  children.  The  classrooms  in  this  laboratory  school  were  the 
proving  grounds  where  teachers—specialists  in  their  subjects- 
would  discover,  by  trying,  the  particular  experiences  that 
would  enrich  the  child's  present  life,  making  it  a  growing 
process  and  an  ever  more  real  and  satisfactory  preparation  for 
the  future.  The  hypothesis  was  that  freedom  to  express  in 
action  is  a  necessary  condition  of  growth,  but  that  guidance  of 
such  expression  is  an  equally  necessary  condition,  especially  of 
childhood's  freedom.  Learning,  a  main  issue  to  the  teacher,  was 
seen  as  a  side  issue  to  the  child,  a  by-product  of  his  activity.  The 
test  of  learning  was  the  increasing  ability  of  the  child  to  meet 
new  situations  through  habits  of  considered  action  which  were 
even  more  social  in  character.  It  was  found  that  satisfaction 
and  emotional  stability  accompany  such  growth.  The  develop- 
ment of  the  curriculum  was  in  relation  to  the  immediate  in- 
terests of  growing  children  and  thereby  revealed  the  chief  in- 
terests of  the  different  psychological  levels  of  this  span  in  their 
life  development.  A  type  of  education  in  which  there  is  steady 
maintenance  of  cooperative  processes  and  constant  use  of  the 


PREFACE  vii 

scientific  principle  of  objective  testing  of  ideas  through  action 
and  evaluating  the  results  of  such  action  for  future  planning, 
has  significant  implications  for  the  world  ferment  of  the  day. 

The  authors  were  both  teachers  in  the  school.  Katherine 
Camp  Mayhew,  as  vice-principal,  was  in  charge  of  the  develop- 
ing curriculum;  she  was  also  head  of  the  science  department. 
Anna  Camp  Edwards  was  a  teacher  of  history  in  the  early  ex- 
perimental period  and  later  as  a  special  tutor  followed  through 
the  work  of  all  other  departments  at  older  age  levels,  an  expe- 
rience which  has  aided  her  in  interpreting  the  value  of 
Mr.  Dewey's  philosophy  of  education  in  the  present  crisis. 

The  scope  of  this  study  was  decided  upon  and  its  plan  worked 
out  by  the  authors  in  close  consultation  with  Mr.  Dewey,  who 
has  guided  the  entire  development  of  the  book.  Throughout 
these  consultations  Mrs.  Edwards  acted  as  secretary  and  cus- 
todian of  the  records  from  which  the  selections  used  were  made. 
In  order  that  the  manuscript  should  have  literary  unity,  it  be- 
came apparent  that  the  composition  and  writing  must  be  done 
by  one  of  the  authors.  Mrs.  Edwards  has  served  in  this  capacity 
for  all  the  chapters  except  the  seventeenth.  She  is  responsible 
for  the  amalgamation  and  editing  of  all  the  records  and  con- 
tributions from  the  various  accredited  sources.  Mrs.  Mayhew 
taught  science  and  mathematics  in  the  school  for  seven  years. 
This  and  her  wide  later  experience  are  the  backgrounds  of  the 
seventeenth  chapter  and  for  her  many  invaluable  contributions 
to  all  the  other  chapters  of  the  book,  especially  her  account  of 
how  the  school  developed  the  approach  to  history  as  the  story 
of  man's  progress  through  invention,  exploration,  and  dis- 
covery. 

The  original  manuscript  of  this  book  was  too  large  for  pub- 
lication. All  the  chapters  were  reduced  in  size,  and  two  chapters 
omitted  from  the  body  of  the  book.  These  two  chapters,  how- 
ever, have  been  included  in  the  form  of  an  appendix.  The  first, 
The  Evolution  of  Mr.  Dewey's  Principles  of  Education,  was 
written  by  Mrs.  Anna  Camp  Edwards;  the  second,  The  Theory 
of  the  Chicago  Experiment,  by  Mr.  Dewey  himself. 

From  1896  to  1899  extensive  accounts  of  the  experimental 
school  were  published  in  the  University  Record.  During  1900 


viii  PREFACE 

the  reports  of  the  school  appeared  in  a  series  of  nine  mono- 
graphs entitled  the  Elementary  School  Record.  These  were  later 
bound  in  one  volume  which  soon  was  out  of  print.  The  records 
of  1901  and  1902  consisted  of  typed  reports  and  summaries  care- 
fully collected  and  edited  by  Laura  L.  Runyon.  These  were 
never  printed.  The  sources  upon  which  the  writers  have  drawn 
include  the  publications  and  documents  mentioned  above,  the 
current  and  later  writings  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dewey,  and  those  of 
alumni  and  friends  of  the  school.  The  school  was  deeply  in- 
debted to  Mrs.  Alice  C.  Dewey  for  her  exceptional  insight  in 
solving  many  of  its  problems.  She  also  collected  and  preserved 
a  large  part  of  the  source  materials.  Mrs.  Dewey's  death  in  1927 
made  impossible  her  plan  to  write  the  history  of  the  school  in 
collaboration  with  Mrs.  Mayhew.  Following  her  death,  the 
authors  undertook  the  work  at  Mr.  Dewey's  request  and  grate- 
fully acknowledge  their  debt  to  Mrs.  Dewey. 

In  the  following  pages  much  material  has  been  taken  from 
hitherto  unpublished  accounts  of  the  school.  The  writers  have 
also  used  extracts  from  published  articles  by  the  following: 
Georgia  F.  Bacon,  Althea  Harmer  Bardeen,  Lillian  Cushman 
Brown,  Hattie  Hover  Harding,  Charles  F.  Harding,  Katherine 
Andrews  Healy,  Nellie  Johnson  O'Conner,  May  Root  Kern, 
Laura  L.  Runyon,  and  Katherine  C.  Mayhew.  Special  mention 
should  be  made  of  the  never  failing  support  of  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
George  H.  Mead  and  their  constant  faith  in  the  educational 
worth  of  the  school.  The  first  account  of  the  undertaking,  The 
School  and  Society,  a  series  of  three  lectures  on  the  school  by 
Mr.  Dewey,  was  edited  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Mead,  assisted  by 
Katherine  Camp  Mayhew  and  Althea  Harmer  Bardeen. 

Appreciation  is  expressed  to  Miss  Bacon,  Mrs.  Brown,  Miss 
Runyon,  Sara  French  Miller,  D.  P.  MacMillan,  and  Mary  Tough 
for  counsel  in  the  early  planning  of  the  manuscript;  to  Elsie 
Clapp  for  her  suggestions  in  relation  to  the  needs  of  teachers; 
to  Harry  O.  Gillette  for  access  to  letters  and  information  col- 
lected by  a  graduate  student  for  an  unfinished  thesis  and  to  the 
few  records  of  the  last  year  of  the  school,  preserved  in  the  pres- 
ent School  of  Education  of  the  University  of  Chicago;  to  George 
W.  Locke,  Anna  Bryan,  Grace  Fulmer,  E.  C.  Moore,  Frank  H. 


PREFACE  ix 

Manny,  W.  A.  Baldwin,  and  Helen  Thompson  Wooley;  also  to 
many  pupils  of  the  school,  parents,  former  teachers,  graduate 
students,  and  visitors  at  the  school  for  their  loyal  support.  Ap- 
preciation is  also  expressed  to  Marion  Le  Brun  Pigman  for  her 
aid  in  the  first  revisions  of  the  manuscript;  to  Elizabeth  F. 
Camp,  John  L.  Childs,  Richard  H.  Edwards,  Galen  M.  Fisher, 
Price  H.  Gwynn,  Jr.,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Paul  R.  Hanna,  Mrs.  Harriet 
Hover  Harding,  Mrs.  Katherine  Andrews  Healy,  and  Mrs. 
William  Kent  for  valuable  suggestions  on  the  manuscript. 
The  authors  are  indebted  to  several  friends  and  alumni  of 
the  school  for  making  it  possible  to  include  a  number  of  the 
illustrations,  thus  giving  much  added  interest  and  value  to  the 
story  of  the  experiment. 

Gratitude  is  due  above  all  to  Mr.  Dewey  for  his  written  con- 
tributions, his  permission  to  quote  his  writings  freely,  and  for 
the  generous  donation  of  his  time  and  thought,  and  to  Evelyn 
Dewey  (Mrs.  Granville  Smith,  Jr.)  for  the  final  editing  of  the 
manuscript. 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 
PREFACE V 

INTRODUCTION XV 


PART  I 

HISTORICAL  DEVELOPMENT  AND   ORGANIZATION 

CHAPTER 

I.      GENERAL    HISTORY $ 

II.      EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS   OF  CURRICULUM  .       2O 

PART  II 

THE  CURRICULUM-SOCIAL  OCCUPATIONS 

III.  EXPERIMENTAL  PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  THE  CURRICU- 

LUM       39 

IV.  HOUSEHOLD    OCCUPATIONS 56 

V.      SOCIAL  OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  THE  HOUSEHOLD      .        .       74 

VI.  PROGRESS  THROUGH  INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY      .  .       95 

VII.  PROGRESS  THROUGH  EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY  .     117 

VIII.  LOCAL   HISTORY 141 

IX.  COLONIAL  HISTORY  AND  THE  REVOLUTION  .        .        .  .     l66 

X.  EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  OF  THE  COLONISTS      .        .  .185 

XI.  EXPERIMENTS  IN  SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES    .        .        .  .    2OO 

XII.  EXPERIMENTS  IN  SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES    .        .       .  .    22O 

XIII.  EXPERIMENTS  IN  SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES    .        .        .  .    257 

XIV.  PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  GUIDING  SELECTION  OF  ACTIV- 

ITIES        25O 


xii  CONTENTS 

PART  III 
EDUCATIONAL  USE  OF  SCIENTIFIC  METHOD 

CHAPTER  PAGE 

XV.       EXPERIMENTAL      ACTIVITIES      DEVELOPING      SCIENTIFIC 

METHOD  AND   CONCEPTS    ........     271 

XVI.       EXPERIMENTAL    ACTIVITIES    DEVELOPING    ORIGINS    AND 
BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE 


XVII.      EXPERIMENTAL      ACTIVITIES     DEVELOPING     SKILLS     IN 

COMMUNICATION    AND   EXPRESSION     .....     336 


PART  IV 

PERSONNEL-ORGANIZATION-EVALUATION 

XVIII.       TEACHERS  AND  SCHOOL  ORGANIZATION          .         .        .        .365 

XIX.      PARENTS    AND    CHILDREN         ........    397 

XX.       EVALUATION   OF  PRINCIPLES  AND  PRACTICES      .        .        .413 

APPENDICES 

I.      THE  EVOLUTION  OF  MR.  DEWEY'S  PRINCIPLES  OF  EDU- 

CATION       ............   445 

II.      THE  THEORY  OF  THE  CHICAGO  EXPERIMENT      .        .        .    463 
III.       A  LIST  OF  TEACHERS  AND  ASSISTANTS  IN  THE  LABORA- 

TORY SCHOOL        ..........  479 

INDEX  ...............    481 


ILLUSTRATIONS 

John  Dewey,  about  1890 frontispiece 

FACING   PAGE 

The  last  home  of  the  Dewey  School,  5412  Ellis  Avenue,  Chicago  .       8 

Gardening  for  the  younger  groups 96 

Drawing  working  plans  for  farm  utensils 96 

Pooling  their  experience  and  labor  to  construct  a  larger  smelter  .    113 

Weaving  in   the  textile  studio 113 

A  busy  morning  in  the  textile  studio 160 

Girls  of  Group  X  working  on  the  club-house 232 

The  finished  club-house  in  use   (1903) 232 

Biology  from  an  evolutionary  point  of  view 297 

A  class  in  cooking  (Group  VI,  age  9  years,  1900) 305 

Finishing  the  heddle 320 

Painting  scenery  for  the  Columbus  play 400 

John  Dewey,  1935 417 


xiii 


INTRODUCTION 

The  account  of  the  Laboratory  School  contained  in  the  pages 
that  follow  is  so  adequate  as  to  render  it  unnecessary  for  me 
to  add  anything  to  what  is  said  about  its  origin,  aims,  and 
methods.  It  is,  however,  a  grateful  task  to  express  my  apprecia- 
tion of  the  intelligent  care  with  which  the  theory  and  practice 
of  the  school  have  been  reported.  Because  of  their  long  connec- 
tion with  the  school,  the  authors  have  a  first-hand  knowledge, 
while  their  responsible  share  in  the  work  of  the  school  has  en- 
abled them  to  make  an  authoritative  statement  of  its  underly- 
ing ideas,  its  development,  and  the  details  of  its  operation.  The 
entire  history  of  the  school  was  marked  by  an  unusual  degree 
of  cooperation  among  parents,  teachers,  and  pupils.  It  is  par- 
ticularly gratifying  to  have  this  living  evidence  that  the  coop- 
erative spirit  still  continues. 

My  gratification  is  far  from  being  merely  personal.  The  vol- 
ume has  historic  interest  and  value,  since  it  is  a  record  of  one 
of  the  earlier  efforts  in  this  country  in  the  direction  of  experi- 
mental and  progressive  schools.  But  this  historic  interest  is  not 
all.  This  educational  movement  is  still  going  on  and  is  far  from 
having  reached  its  goal;  its  unsolved  problems  are  still  many. 
The  book  has,  I  think,  a  good  deal  to  contribute  now  and  here. 
It  is  timely  as  well  as  historical  in  interest.  There  is  one  point 
in  particular  which  may  be  singled  out  for  its  present  bearing. 
The  problem  of  the  relation  between  individual  freedom  and 
collective  well-being  is  today  urgent  and  acute,  perhaps  more 
so  than  at  any  time  in  the  past.  The  problem  of  achieving  both 
of  these  values  without  the  sacrifice  of  either  one  is  likely  to  be 
the  dominant  problem  of  civilization  for  many  years  to  come. 
The  schools  have  their  part  to  play  in  working  out  the  solution, 
and  their  own  chief  task  is  to  create  a  form  of  community  life 
and  organization  in  which  both  of  these  values  are  conserved. 
The  school  whose  work  is  reported  in  this  volume  was  animated 


xvi  INTRODUCTION 

by  a  desire  to  discover  in  administration,  selection  of  subject- 
matter,  methods  o£  learning,  teaching,  and  discipline,  how  a 
school  could  become  a  cooperative  community  while  develop- 
ing in  individuals  their  own  capacities  and  satisfying  their  own 
needs.  I  am  sure  the  present  value  of  the  volume  is  not  ex- 
hausted in  its  account  of  this  phase  of  the  school's  life.  But  the 
present  importance  of  the  issue  emboldens  me  to  believe  that 
it  is  especially  timely  at  the  present  juncture. 

JOHN  DEWEY 


PARTI 

HISTORICAL  DEVELOPMENT  AND 
ORGANIZATION 


CHAPTER    I 

GENERAL     HISTORY 

following  pages  tell  the  story  of  one  of  the  earliest  ex- 
periments in  what  later  came  to  be  known  as  progressive  educo^ 
tion.  This  experiment  was  an  integral  part  of  the  University  of 
Chicago  during  the  years  1896  to  1904,  and  was  an  undertaking 
which  aimed  to  work  put,  through  the  University,  a  school 
system  which  should  be  an  organic  whole  from  the  kindergarten 
to  the  university.  Conducted  under  the  management  and  super- 
vision of  the  University's  Department  of  Philosophy,  Psychol- 
ogy, and  Education,  it  bore  the  same  relation  to  the  work  of  that 
department  that  a  laboratory  bears  to  biology,  physics,  or  chem- 
istry. Like  any  such  laboratory  it  had  two  main  purposes:  (i) 
to  exhibit,  test,  verify,  and  criticize  theoretical  statements  and 
principles;  and  (2)  to  add  to  the  sum  of  facts  and  principles 
in  its  special  line.  In  consequence,  it  was  often  called  the 
Laboratory  School.  The  name  is  significant.  John  Dewey,  when 
called  to  be  the  head  of  the  department  in  1894,  had  arrived 
at  certain  philosophical  and  psychological  ideas  which  he  de- 
sired to  test  in  practical  application.  This  desire  was  not  merely 
personal,  but  flowed  from  the  very  nature  of  the  ideas  them- 
selves. For  it  was  part  of  the  philosophical  and  psychological 
theory  he  entertained  that  ideas,  even  as  ideas,  are  incomplete 
and  tentative  until  they  are  employed  in  application  to  objects 
in  action  and  are  thus  developed,  corrected,  and  tested.  The 
need  of  a  laboratory  was  indicated.  Moreover,  the  inclusive 
scope  of  the  ideas  in  question  demanded  something  more  than 
a  laboratory  of  experimentation  in  its  restricted  technical  sense. 
The  materials  with  which  they  dealt  were  the  continuing  de- 
velopment of  human  beings  in  knowledge,  understanding,  and 
character.  A  school  was  the  answer  to  the  need. 

3 


4  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

During  the  years  at  Chicago,  Mr.  Dewey's  thought  along 
these  lines  was  greatly  stimulated  and  enriched.  One  of  the 
important  influences  affecting  the  distinct  advance  in  the 
psychological  formulations  of  this  period  was  the  cooperative 
thinking  and  pooled  results  of  a  close-knit  group  of  colleagues, 
all  concentrating  under  one  leadership.  James  R.  Angell  was 
then  working  out  his  ideas  of  functional  psychology.  George 
H.  Mead,  who  earlier  had  been  a  colleague  of  Mr.  Dewey's  at 
the  University  of  Michigan,  was  developing  the  psychology 
of  the  act  on  the  basis  of  wide  biological  knowledge,  and  James 
H.  Tufts  collaborated  with  Mr.  Dewey  in  a  course  for  the 
parents  of  the  school.  These  men  and  others  in  related  depart- 
ments of  the  University  made  up  a  united  and  enthusiastic 
group  of  investigators  and  teachers. 

Mr.  Dewey's  thinking  was  further  supplemented  by  the  work 
of  the  various  study  clubs  of  which  he  was  a  member  and  the 
groups  of  graduate  and  undergraduate  students  under  his  direc- 
tion. He  early  joined  the  Illinois  Society  for  Child  Study,  which 
included  among  its  members  many  able  educators.  In  the  trans- 
actions of  this  society,  which  were  being  watched  and  com- 
mented upon  by  leaders  in  psychological  thinking,  Mr.  Dewey 
took  an  active  part.  A  number  of  his  earliest  statements  were 
published  by  this  organization  and  by  the  newly  organized 
National  Herbart  Society. 

As  a  result  of  all  this  original  and  cooperative  effort,  there 
were  gradually  built  up  the  psychological  and  sociological  prin- 
ciples, which,  together  with  their  many  implications,  form  the 
basis  of  Mr.  Dewey's  theory  of  education.  Statements  of  these 
appeared  from  time  to  time  in  various  periodicals  and  in  other 
forms.1 


i  This  selected  list  of  statements  published  at  the  time  contains  the 
essential  elements  in  Mr.  Dewey's  philosophy  of  education:  (i)  "The  Re- 
sults of  Child-Study  Applied  to  Education,"  Transactions  of  the  Illinois 
Society  for  Child  Study,  January,  1895;  (a)  "Interest  as  Related  to  Will," 
in  National  Herbart  Society,  Second  Supplement  to  the  Herbart  Yearbook 
for  1895;  (3)  "The  Reflex-Arc  Concept  in  Psychology,"  Psychological  Re- 
view, July,  1896;  (4)  "Pedagogy  as  a  University  Discipline,"  University 
(of  Chicago)  Record,  September,  1896;  (5)  "Ethical  Principles  Underlying 
Education,"  in  National  Herbart  Society,  Third  Yearbook  (Chicago,  1897); 


GENERAL  HISTORY  5 

Many  of  the  interested  group  and  their  friends  were  parents, 
and  the  idea  of  a  school  which  should  test  in  practice  these 
newly  stated  principles  of  education  grew  out  of  their  desire 
that  their  own  children  should  experience  this  kind  of  school- 
ing. The  ideas  of  the  group  were  formulated  by  Mr.  Dewey 
in  a  privately  printed  brochure,  "Plan  of  Organization  of  the 
University  Primary  School."  This  plan  as  summarized  by  Mr. 
Dewey  follows.2 

"Because  of  the  idea  that  human  intelligence  developed  in 
connection  with  the  needs  and  opportunities  of  action,  the  core 
of  school  activity  was  to  be  found  in  occupations,  rather  than 
in  what  are  conventionally  termed  studies.  Study  in  the  sense 
of  inquiry  and  its  outcome  in  gathering  and  retention  of  in- 
formation was  to  be  an  outgrowth  of  the  pursuit  of  certain 
continuing  or  consecutive  occupational  activities.  Since  the 
development  of  the  intelligence  and  knowledge  of  mankind 
has  been  a  cooperative  matter,  and  culture,  in  its  broadest 
sense,  a  collective  creation,  occupations  were  to  be  selected 
which  related  those  engaged  in  them  to  the  basic  needs  of 
developing  life,  and  demanded  cooperation,  division  of  work, 
and  constant  intellectual  exchange  by  means  of  mutual  com- 
munication and  record.  Since  the  integration  of  the  individual 
and  the  social  is  impossible  except  when  the  individual  lives 
in  close  association  with  others  in  the  constant  free  give  and 
take  of  experiences,  it  seemed  that  education  could  prepare 
the  young  for  the  future  social  life  only  when  the  school  was 
itself  a  cooperative  society  on  a  small  scale.  Therefore,  the 
first  factor  in  bringing  about  the  desired  coordination  of  these 
occupations  was  the  establishment  of  the  school  itself  as  a 
form  of  community  life. 

"The  primary  skills,  in  reading,  writing,  and  numbers,  were 
to  grow  out  of  the  needs  and  the  results  of  activities.  More- 
over, since  basic  occupations  involve  relations  to  the  materials 
and  forces  of  nature,  just  as  the  processes  of  living  together 


(6)  "Principles  of  Mental  Development  as  Illustrated  in  Early  Infancy," 
Transactions  of  the  Illinois  Society  for  Child  Study,  October,  1899;  (7)  The 
School  and  Society  (Chicago,  The  University  of  Chicago  Press,  1899). 
2  John  Dewey.  Written  for  the  Authors. 


6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

involve  social  invention,  organization,  and  establishment  of 
human  bonds,  making  the  development  of  individuals  secure 
and  progressive,  knowledge  was  to  grow  out  of  the  active  con- 
tact with  things  and  energies  inherent  in  consecutive  activities. 
History,  for  instance,  was  to  be  a  deepening  and  an  extension 
of  the  process  of  human  invention  and  integration.  The  de- 
velopment of  character  and  the  management  of  what  is  or- 
dinarily called  discipline,  were  to  be,  as  far  as  possible,  the 
outgrowth  of  a  shared  community  life  in  which  teachers  were 
guides  and  leaders.  The  substratum  of  the  educative  process 
was  thus  to  develop  from  the  idea  that  the  young  have  native 
needs  and  native  tendencies  of  curiosity,  love  of  active  occupa- 
tion, and  desire  for  association  and  mutual  exchange  which 
provide  the  intrinsic  leverage  for  educative  growth  in  knowl- 
edge, understanding,  and  conduct 

"The  significance  of  these  principles  for  the  educational  ex- 
periment that  was  undertaken  can  best  be  gathered  from  the 
account  of  the  actual  life  of  the  school.  The  controlling  aim 
of  the  school  was  not  the  aim  of  present  progressive  education. 
It  was  to  discover  and  apply  the  principles  that  govern  all  hu- 
man development  that  is  truly  educative,  to  utilize  the  methods 
by  which  mankind  has  collectively  and  progressively  advanced 
in  skill,  understanding,  and  associated  life. 

"The  basic  principle  necessarily  demanded  a  very  consider- 
able break  with  the  aims,  methods,  and  materials  familiar  in  the 
traditional  school.  It  involved  departure  from  the  conception 
that,  in  the  main,  the  proper  materials  and  methods  of  educa- 
tion are  already  well-known  and  need  only  to  be  furthered, 
refined,  and  extended.  It  implied  continual  experimentation 
to  discover  the  conditions  under  which  educative  growth  actu- 
ally occurs.  It  implied  also  much  more  attention  to  present 
conditions  in  the  life  of  individuals,  children,  and  contem- 
porary society  than  was  current  in  schools  based  chiefly  upon 
the  attainments  of  the  past^t^mvolved  the  substitution  of  an 
active  attitude  of  work  and  play  and  of  inquiry  for  the  pro- 
cesses of  imposition  and  passive  absorption  of  ready-made 
knowledge  and  preformed  skills  that  largely  dominated  the 
traditional  school.  It  implied  a  much  larger  degree  of  op- 


GENERAL  HISTORY  7 

portunity  for  initiative,  discovery,  and  independent  communi- 
cation of  intellectual  freedom  than  was  characteristic  of  the 
traditional  school^) 

-*s/ 

"Thus  the  nai^e  J^&oratory.  School  (originally  suggested  by 
Ella  Flagg  Young), gives  a  Jkey^to.  the  work  _Q!  the. school.  A 
laboratory-is,  as .,  the  wor.gl  implies,  a  place  for  activity,  for1 
work,  for  the  consecutive  carrying  on  of  an  occupation  and 
in  the  case  of  education  the  occupation  must  be  inclusive  of 
all  fundamental  human  values.  A  laboratory  also  implies  di- 
rective ideas,  leading  hypotheses  that,  as  they  are  applied, 
lead  to  new  understandings.  It  demands  also  workers,  who  with- 
out being  enslaved  to  the  past,  are  acquainted  with  achieve- 
ments of  the  past  in  science  and^arkjand  who  are  possessed  of 
the  best  skills  that  have  been  worked  out  by  the  cooperative 
efforts  of  human  beings.  Like  every  human  enterprise  the 
Laboratory  School  came  far  short  of  achieving  its  ideal  and 
putting  its  controlling  ideas  into  successful"  'operation.  But 
some  knowledge  as  to  what  the  ideals  and  ideas  were  is  neces- 
sary to  give  unity  and  coherence  to  an  account  of  its  detailed 
work." 

The  practical  difficulties  of  creating  a  new  school  as  com- 
pared with  the  formulation  of  theoretical  principles  were 
recognized  from  the  start.  The  idea  of  education  as  growth 
was  new.  Since  growth  is  the  characteristic  of  all  life,  education 
is  all  one  with  growing;  it  has  no  end  beyond  itself;  it  goes 
on  during  the  whole  life  span  of  the  individual;  it  is  the  result 
of  the  constant  adjustment  of  the  individual  to  his  physical 
and  social  environment  which  is  thus  both  used  and  modified 
to  supply  his  needs  and  those  of  his  social  groups.  All  these 
new  theoretical  statements  presented  practical  difficulties. 
There  were  no  precedents  for  this  type  of  schooling  to  follow, 
and  there  was  need  to  study  the  growing  child  in  relation  to 
his  environment  and  to  experiment  with  subject-matter  and 
method  to  find  what  ministered  best  to  his  growth. 

With  faith  in  the  soundness  of  the  experimental  approach 
to  education  that  should  test  in  practice  the  value  of  the 
theory,  the  school  opened  in  January,  1896,  in  a  private  dwell- 
ing with  sixteen  pupils  and  two  persons  in  charge.  The  first 


8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

six  months  was  a  "trial-and-error"  period  and  was  chiefly  in- 
dicative of  what  not  to  do.  The  school  reopened  on  a  new  basis 
in  October,  1896,  at  5718  Kimbark  Avenue  with  thirty-two 
children  ranging  in  age  from  six  to  eleven  and  a  staff  of  three 
regular  teachers,  one  in  charge  of  science  and  the  domestic 
arts,  one  of  literature  and  history,  and  one  of  manual  training. 
A  part-time  instructor  in  music  was  also  on  the  staff,  and  three 
graduate  students  gave  all  or  part  of  their  time  to  the  school. 
The  school  continued  at  these  headquarters  until  January, 
1897,  when,  owing  to  inadequate  space,  it  removed  to  the  old 
South  Park  Club  House,  at  the  corner  of  Rosalie  Court  and 
57th  Street.  The  number  of  teachers  was  increased  and  new 
pupilfiL-were  received,  making  the  enrolment  forty-five. 

By  December,  1897,  the  staff  of  teachers  had  grown  to  six- 
teen, the  children  numbered  sixty,  and  the  school  again  faced 
the  need  of  larger  quarters.  In  October,  1898,  the  school  opened 
in  an  old  residence  at  5412  Ellis  Avenue.  At  this  time  the 
school  took  on  its  subsequent  departmental  form,  thus  har- 
monizing with  the  University.  A  sub-primary  department  was 
added  to  include  children  of  four  and  five.  Eighty-two  children 
were  enrolled.  New  quarters  included  a  gymnasium  and  manual 
training  rooms  in  a  barn  connected  with  the  house  by  a  covered 
way.  Art  and  textile  rooms  occupied  the  large  attic  rooms. 
The  science  department  had  two  laboratories,  one  for  combined 
physics  and  chemistry,  and  one  for  biology.  The  history  depart- 
ment shared  three  special  rooms  with  the  English  department. 
Domestic  science  now  had  a  kitchen  large  enough  for  two 
groups  to  work  together  and  two  dining  rooms  properly 
equipped  for  serving. 

In  these  quarters  the  school  entered  upon  another  stage  of 
its  history.  The  experience  of  two  years  and  a  half  of  success 
and  failure  afforded  a  basis  out  of  which  there  grew  an  ever 
developing  curriculum.  Through  the  years  1900,  1901,  and 
1905  the  school  continued  to  increase  in  numbers  until  it 
reached  a  maximum  of  one  hundred  and  forty  children.  The 
teaching  staff  increased  to  twenty-three  teachers  and  instructors 
with  about  ten  assistants  (graduate  students  of  the  University). 
With  its  increase  in  size  the  organization  of  the  teaching  staff 


THE    LAST    HOME    OF    THE    DEWEY    SCHOOJL,    5412    ELLIS    AVENUE, 

CHICAGO 


GENERAL  HISTORY  9 

had  become  more  formal  in  character.  Mr.  Dewey  continued 
as  Director,  and  Ella  Flagg  Young  of  the  Department  of  Educa- 
tion was  Supervisor  of  Instruction.  Mrs.  Dewey's  previous  in- 
formal connection  now  became  official  as  principal  of  the 
school.  She  was  also  director  of  the  Department  of  English 
and  literature,  and  had  general  oversight  of  the  language  ex- 
pression of  the  schpol.  The  relationship  with  the  University 
continued  as  before,  insuring  stability  and  continuity  to  the 
work,  as  well  as  providing  the  advantages  of  expert  advice, 
planning,  and  supervision  of  instruction. 

The  administration  of  the  school  was,  particularly  in  its 
formative  years,  so  much  a  matter  of  the  cooperation  of  those 
directing  and  teaching  that  it  is  difficult  to  say  where  executive 
or  administrative  responsibilities  ended  and  those  of  teaching 
began.  As  head  of  the  Department  of  Pedagogy,  Mr.  Dewey 
was  at  all  times  head  of  the  Laboratory  School;  but  for  the  first 
three  years  of  its  existence  the  various  administrative  duties  fell 
in  great  part  to  members  of  the  teaching  staff,  were  informally 
determined  in  conference  with  the  director,  and  shifted 
constantly  to  meet  temporary  exigencies  and  changing  needs. 
The  teaching  staff  in  these  years,  therefore,  was  the  administra- 
tive, with  the  exception  of  certain  administrative  functions, 
chiefly  financial,  which  were  carried  out  by  the  University 
Department  of  Pedagogy.  In  later  years  when  the  greatly  in- 
creased staff  necessitated  a  more  formal  organization,  the  school 
was  departmentalized,  and  while  the  administrative  staff  was 
still  composed  of  teachers,  a  division  of  responsibility  was  made. 
One,  as  principal,  took  charge  of  all  contacts  with  parents, 
graduate  student-teachers,  and  visitors,  and  one,  as  vice- 
principal,  continued  to  assume  responsibility  for  the  curricu- 
lum. At  this  time  also,  a  supervisor  from  the  Department  of 
Pedagogy  of  the  University  was  added  to  the  staff.  She  also 
conducted  classes  with  the  pedagogical  students  working  in  the 
school  and  doing  laboratory  work  as  assistants,8  where  the  prin- 


*  Principal  and  director  of  history,  Georgia  Bacon,  1900-1901;  principal 
and  director  of  the  language  instruction,  Alice  Chipman  Dewey,  1901- 
1903;  vice-principal  and  director  of  science,  Katherine  Camp;  supervisor, 
Ella  Flagg  Young. 


10  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

ciples  and  practices  of  the  school  were  discussed  and  related. 
The  early  meetings,  of  the  experimental  years,  however,  being 
smaller,  had  included,  in  addition  to  the  teachers,  all  of  the 
Fellows,  and  most  of  the  students  and  instructors  in  the  Uni- 
versity's Department  of  Pedagogy. 

In  retrospect,  the  cooperation  of  the  many  departments  of 
the  University,  particularly  in  all  forms  of  science  is  acknowl- 
edged with  gratitude.  Heads  of  these  departments,  as  well  as 
individual  staff  members,  were  generous  with  their  time  and 
facilities.  In  addition  to  this  whole-hearted  aid  in  material 
ways,  intellectual  resources  were  freely  put  at  the  disposal  of 
the  teachers.  Of  immeasurable,  stabilizing  value  was  the  re- 
lationship to  the  University.  As  the  laboratory  of  the  Depart- 
ment of  Pedagogy,  the  school  shared  widi  the  other  laboratories 
of  the  University  die  benefits  of  such  intimate  relationship. 
This  gave  an  easy  accessibility  for  teachers  desiring  it  to  many 
scientists  who  were,  or  since  have  become,  leaders  of  thought 
and  accomplishment  in  their  various  fields.  Many  of  these 
men  had,  in  addition  to  special  attainments,  unusual  pedagogi- 
cal interests  which  led  to  their  giving  constant  intellectual 
and  material  help  to  the  teachers  of  the  school.4 

As  time  went  on,  it  became  clear  that  this  experiment  in 
education  required  also  experimental  administrative  methods. 
A  school  that  was  a  social  institution  modeled  after  the  or- 
ganization of  an  ideal  home  required  a  special  arrangement 
and  organization  of  its  directing  factors.  Instead  of  a  group  of 

*  Perhaps  the  University  of  Chicago  possessed  in  the  beginning  many 
more  scientists  later  to  achieve  international  distinction  than  had  been 
gathered  together  in  any  other  new  university.  At  that  time  Thomas  G. 
Chamberlain  was  elaborating  his  planetesimal  theory  of  the  origin  of 
the  solar  system  and  came  to  talk  about  it  to  the  children.  John  M.  Coulter 
planned  and  guided  the  experiments  on  plant  relations.  Others  who  co- 
operated were  Charles  O.  Whitman  in  zoology,  Jacques  Loeb  in  physiology, 
W.  I.  Thomas  and  George  Vincent  in  sociology,  Frederick  Starr  in  anthro- 
pology, Rollin  D.  Salisbury  in  geography,  Albert  A  Michelson  in  physics, 
Alexander  Smith  in  chemistry,  and  Henry  C.  Cowles  in  ecology.  The 
school  was  indebted  to  numerous  persons  in  other  departments  of  the 
University  especially  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William  D.  MacClintock,  to  G.  E. 
Hale,  Wallace  Atwood,  and  to  the  members  of  Mr.  Dewey's  departments 
for  continuous  cooperation  particularly  to  George  H.  Mead,  James  H. 
Tufts,  and  James  R.  Angell. 


GENERAL  HISTORY  n 

persons  who  planned  on  paper  a  program  which  they  then 
required  a  staff  of  teachers  to  teach  to  the  pupils,  these  experi- 
menters were  confronted  with  a  different  problem.  The  aid 
of  the  teachers  (as  well  as  of  the  pupils)  was  a  fundamental 
and  primary  requisite  to  even  the  theoretical  formulation  of 
an  educative  program.  Plainly,  therefore,  all  three  factors, 
administrators,  teachers,  pupils,  must  share  in  the  functions 
of  managing  and  executing  the  teacher-learning  process.  In- 
deed, such  an  experiment  in  education  as  this  could  not  go  on 
except  through  a  group  of  persons  all  of  whom  were  intel- 
lectually and  socially  cooperating  in  a  constantly  developing 
educational  plan.  In  such  an  endeavor  the  parents  of  the  chil- 
dren were  also  factors,  whose  help  was  essential  in  countless 
ways  for  the  successful  accomplishment  of  the  experiment. 
The  focus  of  all  this  cooperative  endeavor  was-  the  child— his 
physical  and  mental  growth  in  a  well-balanced  and,  therefore, 
happy  fashion.  Along  many  lines  of  approach  help  and  sug- 
gestion flowed  in  and  were  integrated  and  correlated  by  the 
child's  activities.  At  the  request  of  the  authors,  Mr.  Dewey  has 
recently  made  the  following  comment  on  the  relation  of  the 
theory  to  the  practice  in  the  actual  working  out  of  the  school. 

"In  dealing  with  principles  underlying  school  activities,  it 
is  easy,  especially  after  a  lapse  of  years,  to  read  into  a  statement 
of  them  what  one  has  learned  in  subsequent  experience.  An- 
other danger  more  serious  and  more  difficult  to  avoid  lies  in 
the  gap  between  any  formal  statement  of  principles  and  ideals 
and  the  way  things  work  out  in  actual  practice;  in  the  tempta- 
tion to  idealize  the  latter  by  assuming  a  greater  conformity 
with  theoretical  principles  than  is  attained.  The  concrete  cir- 
cumstances of  school  life  introduce  many  factors  that  are  not 
foreseen  and  taken  account  of  in  theory.  This  is  as  formal  and 
static  as  the  life  of  teachers  and  children  in  school  is  moving 
and  vital. 

"The  principles  stated  were  not  intended  to  serve  as  definite 
rules  for  what  was  done  in  the  school.  They  furnished  a  point 
of  View  and  indicated  the  direction  in  which  it  was  to  move. 
Not  merely  the  concrete  material,  the  subject  matter  of  the 
pupils'  studies,  but  the  methods  of  teaching  were  developed 


12  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  the  course  of  the  school's  own  operations.  This  development 
signifies,  of  course,  that  the  experience  of  one  year  taught 
something  about  what  was  to  be  done  the  next  year  and  how 
it  was  to  be  better  done.  But  it  also  meant  something  more 
than  this,— material  and  methods  which  worked  with  one  group 
of  children  would  not  give  the  same  results  with  another  group 
of  supposedly  about  the  same  attainments  and  capacities,  and 
quite  radical  changes  would  have  to  be  introduced  in  the  actual 
process  of  teaching." 

The  school  always  faced  a  serious  financial  situation.  In  five 
years  it  had  outgrown  three  buildings,  none  of  which  had  been 
adequately  equipped.  Because  tuition  fees  had  been  kept  low  5 
for  the  sake  of  the  parents  who  might  otherwise  have  coveted 
in  vain  such  an  education  for  their  children,  there  had  been 
a  yearly  deficit.  Each  year,  however,  this  deficit  had  been  met 
by  the  parents  and  friends,'  staunch  supporters  of  the  school 
who  had  caught  a  vision  of  its  worth  and  meaning  for  their 
own  and  other  children.  At  the  beginning  the  University  as- 
sured Mr.  Dewey  only  the  sum  of  $1,000  to  cover  the  initial 
expense.  This  sum,  moreover,  was  not  in  cash  but  in  tuitions 
of  graduate  students  who  were  to  teach  in  the  school.  At  the 
end  of  the  first  six  months  the  generous  gift  of  $1,200  by 
Mrs.  Charles  R.  Linn  enabled  the  school  to  begin  anew  in  the 
fall  of  1896  with  a  staff  of  three  teachers.  In  the  years  following 
funds  to  cover  the  deficit  were  forthcoming  from  the  loyal 
group  of  parents  and  friends. 

In  1902,  the  Chicago  Institute  (formerly  the  Cook  County 
Normal  School  of  Chicago)  heavily  endowed  by  Mrs.  Emmons 
Blaine,  and  the  University  of  Chicago  consummated  a  plan 
whereby  the  former  became  incorporated  with  the  University. 
Two  other  schools  had  been  included  in  the  merger,  the 
Chicago  Manual  Training  School  and  the  South  Side  Academy. 
The  Chicago  Institute  was  primarily  a  school  for  training 
teachers  and  was  under  the  leadership  of  Colonel  Francis  W. 

*  Tuition  paid  in  1901-2  was  as  follows:  for  children  from  four  to 
six  years,  $75.00  per  year;  for  older  children  attending  the  forenoon  session 
only,  $90.00  per  year;  for  children  attending  the  afternoon  session  also, 
$105.00  per  year. 


GENERAL  HISTORY  13 

Parker.  The  faculty  of  the  Institute  numbered  thirty-five  per- 
sons. There  were  about  one  hundred  students  in  the  pedagogi- 
cal and  one  hundred  and  twenty  in  the  academic  departments, 
one  of  which  was  an  elementary  school  and  kindergarten.  The 
University  accordingly  found  itself  possessing  two  elementary 
schools.  One,  a  practice  school  for  the  training  of  teachers 
under  the  leadership  of  Colonel  Parker,  was  heavily  endowed. 
The  other,  the  Laboratory  School  of  the  University's  Depart- 
ment of  Pedagogy  directed  by  Mr.  Dewey,  had  no  endowment, 
but  had  been,  even  then,  characterized  as  one  of  the  "greatest 
experiments  in  education  ever  carried  on."  Both  schools  were 
progressive;  both  had  made  outstanding  contributions  to  the 
principles  and  practice  of  education.  But  while  similar  in 
these  larger  aspects  of  general  purpose,  the  two  schools  differed 
rather  widely  in  theory,  method,  and  practice. 

For  the  solution  of  the  problem  thus  presented,  various  plans 
,had  been  discussed  by  the  President  and  Trustees  of  the  Uni- 
versity. Of  these,  two  plans  only  seemed  feasible.  The  first  was 
to  continue  both  schools  as  separate  organizations;  one,  the 
Dewey  School,  to  be  a  laboratory  of  the  Department  of  Pedagogy 
of  the  University,  the  other  to  be  a  practice  school  for  the 
training  of  elementary  teachers.  The  difficulty,  which  seemed 
to  make  this  plan  impracticable,  was  the  lack  of  endowment 
for  the  Dewey  School.  The  only  solution,  apparently,  was  the 
second  plan— merging  the  two  schools.  It  had  also  been  pro- 
posed that  if  the  two  elementary  schools  were  merged,  a  new 
secondary  school  should  be  formed  by  combining  the  South 
Side  Academy  and  the  Chicago  Manual  Training  School. 
Mr.  Dewey  was  to  be  head  of  this  secondary  school,  and  it  was 
to  be  regarded  as  part  of  the  University's  Department  of 
Pedagogy  so  long  as  Mr.  Dewey  remained  in  charge  of  that 
Department.  At  the  same  time  this  secondary  school  was  to  be 
carried  on  in  connection  with  the  transplanted  Chicago  In- 
stitute. 

The  President  and  his  Committee  of  Administrators,  not 
having  followed  closely  the  development  of  the  Laboratory 
School,  made  a  serious  error  of  judgment  in  supposing  that 
the  plan  of  merging  the  two  elementary  schools,  so  different  in 


i4  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

theory  and  method,  would  seem  advisable  or  welcome  to  the 
parents,  teachers,  or  administrators  of  the  Dewey  School.  All 
parents,  teachers,  and  administrators  were  in  accord  in  their 
opinions  that  both  schools  would  suffer  from  such  procedure, 
and  that  the  Dewey  School,  being  the  smaller,  and  bereft  of 
its  leader,  would  be  swallowed  up  and  lost  in  the  larger  school. 
Therefore,  after  much  discussion  and  planning,  they  secured 
the  permission  of  the  University  authorities  to  continue  the 
school  separately,  under  the  official  name  of  the  Laboratory 
School  of  the  University  of  Chicago,  provided  they  could  raise 
and  guarantee  to  the  University  for  the  space  of  three  years 
the  sum  of  $5,000  annually.  A  committee  of  parents,  fired  with 
zeal  to  save  the  school,  raised  this  amount  in  a  comparatively 
short  time  with  pledges  for  the  years  to  come,  and  for  one 
year  longer  the  school  continued  at  the  same  place  and  under 
the  same  administration  as  before. 

During  this  year  (1903),  however,  Colonel  Parker  died,  and 
negotiations  for  the  amalgamation  of  the  two  schools  were 
again  resumed  and  finally  consummated.  Mr.  Dewey  accepted 
the  directorship  of  the  School  of  Education  with  his  under- 
standing that  the  regular  teaching  and  administrative  staff  of 
the  Laboratory  School  was  to  be  taken  over  by  the  School  of 
Education  and  was  to  continue  in  office  indefinitely.  The 
Laboratory  School  accordingly  moved  into  the  newly  com- 
pleted School  of  Education  building  in  the  fall  of  1903,  and 
the  School  of  Education  then  became  the  united  faculties, 
students,  and  administration  of  four  schools,  The  Chicago 
Institute,  The  Chicago  Manual  Training  School,  The  Uni- 
versity of  Chicago  Laboratory  School,  and  the  South  Side 
Academy. 

It  seems  fitting  at  this  point  to  quote  briefly  an  address  by 
Mr.  Dewey  on  the  occasion  of  the  first  combined  meeting  of 
the  parents  of  the  four  schools  which  had  joined  forces  to 
become  the  School  of  Education.  Upon  the  background  of  die 
history  of  these  four  schools,  he  states  the  ideal  of  the  School 
of  Education  as  he  conceived  it:  6 


e  John  Dewey,  "Significance  of  the  School  of  Education,"  The  Elementary 
School  Teacher f  March,  1904. 


GENERAL  HISTORY  15 

"The  significance  of  the  School  of  Education,  put  in  terms  of 
its  origin,  lies  in  the  bringing  together  of  all  factors  of  the 
educational  problem.  ...  It  now  incarnates  in  itself  all  the 
elements  which  constitute  the  theoretical  educational  problem 
of  the  present.  In  other  words,  we  have  right  here  in  concrete, 
actual  institutional  form  all  the  factors  which  any  writer  on 
education  of  the  present  day  would  lay  down  as  involved  in  the 
problem  of  education.  We  have  the  so-called  practical  and 
utilitarian  element.  This  comes  not  merely  from  the  Chicago 
Manual  Training  School,  but  from  the  stress  laid  from  the 
first  in  the  Cook  County  Normal  School  (Chicago  Institute) 
upon  manual  training,  and  the  important  place  given  in  the 
Laboratory  School  to  social  occupations.  Thus  the  motor,  die 
executive  side  of  the  individual  is  appealed  to.  The  School  of 
Education  recognizes  that  an  "all-around  education"  is  a  mere 
name  if  it  leaves  out  of  account  direct  interest  in  seeing  things 
and  in  doing  things.  The  so-called  practical  and  utilitarian 
factor  is  thus  here  not  an  isolated  and  independent  thing,  but 
the  utilization  of  an  otherwise  wasted  (and  hence  perverted) 
source  of  energy.  But  the  School  also  stands  for  the  most 
thorough-going  recognition  of  the  importance  of  scientific  and 
cultural  elements  in  education.  Moreover,  the  School  stands 
for  these  things,  not  merely  within  its  own  structure,  but 
through  the  training  of  teachers  and  the  promulgation  of  sound 
educational  theory  for  educational  progress  and  reform  far 
beyond  itself.  .  .  .  To  have  initiated  these  distinct  and  in- 
dependent portions  of  an  educational  system  represented  here, 
was  a  great  achievement.  To  stop  here,  not  to  recognize  the 
growth  that  may  come  from  their  fusing  into  a  vital  whole, 
would  be  a  calamity  all  the  greater  because  of  what  has  been 
achieved  in  the  past.  .  .  . 

"Such  growth  can  only  come  as  a  result  of  the  cooperative 
effort  of  teachers,  parents,  and  children.  There  is  one  kind  of 
coeducation  to  which  no  one  takes  objections— one  which  is 
absolutely  indispensable  if  the  future  of  the  school  is  to  be 
as  significant  as  its  own  past  exacts  of  it.  This  coeducation  of 
teachers,  children,  and  parents  by  one  another.  I  say  by  one 
another  rather  than  with  one  another,  for  I  think  that  coeduca- 


i6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

tion  is  not  the  passive  reception  of  the  same  instruction  side 
by  side,  but  the  active  participation  in  the  education  of  one 
by  others.  If  the  School  is  to  move  along  steadily  and  as  a 
whole  within  itself,  it  must  be  because  it  moves  along  with  a 
body  of  parents  who  have  intrusted  their  children  to  it,  and 
because  in  turn  the  parents  move  along  sympathetically  with 
the  endeavors,  experiments,  and  changes  of  the  school  it- 
self. .  .  . 

"In  spite  of  all  the  advances  that  have  been  made  through- 
out the  country,  there  is  still  one  unsolved  problem  in  ele- 
mentary and  secondary  education.  That  is  the  question  of  duly 
adapting  to  each  other  the  practical  and  utilitarian,  the  ex- 
ecutive and  the  abstract,  the  tool  and  the  book,  the  head  and 
the  hand.  This  is  a  problem  of  such  vast  scope  that  any 
systematic  attempt  to  deal  with  it  must  have  great  influence 
upon  the  whole  course  of  education  everywhere.  The  School  of 
Education,  both  in  its  elementary  and  secondary  departments, 
is  trying  to  make  its  contribution  to  this  vexed  question.  Utility 
and  culture,  absorption  and  expression,  theory  and  practice, 
are  indispensable  elements  in  any  educational  scheme.  But,  as 
a  rule,  they  are  pursued  apart.  As  already  indicated,  the  dif- 
ferent schools  which  have  entered  into  combination  here  make 
it  necessary  for  the  School  of  Education  to  fuse  hitherto  sep- 
arated factors.  In  this  attempt  we  shall  need  your  sympathetic 
intelligence.  .  .  . 

"In  the  second  place,  I  wish  to  enlist  your  sympathy  with  the 
social  ideals  and  spirit  which  must  prevail  in  the  School  of 
Education,  if  it  is  to  be  true  to  its  own  past.  We  trust,  and 
shall  continue  to  trust,  to  the  social  spirit  as  the  ultimate  and 
controlling  motive  in  discipline.  We  believe,  and  our  past  ex- 
perience warrants  us  in  the  belief,  that  a  higher,  more  effective, 
more  truly  severe  type  of  personal  discipline  and  government 
may  be  secured  through  appeal  to  the  social  motives  and  in- 
terests of  children  and  youth  than  to  their  antisocial  ones.  .  .  . 
It  must  be  possible  on  some  other  basis  to  secure  and  main- 
tain a  wholesome  social  and  moral  spirit  in  the  school.  It  can- 
not be  too  definitely  stated  that  it  is  only  to  this  class  that  the 


GENERAL  HISTORY  17 

School  of  Education  wants  to  appeal  for  members  of  its  stu- 
dent body.  .  .  .  The  moral  and  social  influence  which  the 
members  of  the  student  body  exert  upon  each  other  is  far  more 
potent  for  good  in  the  long  run  than  any  device  that  teachers 
can  set  up  and  keep  going;  and  the  presence  or  absence  of  this 
influence  must  go  back  largely  to  home  influences  and  sur- 
roundings. 

"The  School  of  Education  wishes  particularly,  then,  the  co- 
operation of  parents  in  creating  a  healthy  moral  tone  which 
will  render  quite  unnecessary  resort  to  lower  and  more  un- 
worthy motives  for  regulating  conduct,  in  the  cultivation  of  a 
democratic  tone,  an  esprit-de-corps,  which  attaches  itself  to  the 
social  life  of  the  school  as  a  whole,  and  not  to  some  clique 
or  set  in  it,  ...  May  we  remind  you  that  a  school  has  a 
corporate  life  of  its  own;  that,  whether  for  good  or  bad,  it 
is  itself  a  genuine  social  institution— a  community.  The  in- 
fluences which  center  in  and  radiate  from  this  corporate  social 
life  are  infinitely  more  important  with  respect  to  the  moral 
development  of  your  children  than  is  simply  class-room  in- 
struction in  the  abstract.  May  I  close  with  an  exhortation  to 
bear  in  mind  the  fundamental  importance  to  yourselves  and 
to  your  children,  as  well  as  to  the  School,  of  the  maintenance 
of  the  right  sort  of  social  aims  and  spirit  throughout  the  school 
as  a  whole." 

These  words  seemed  to  promise  a  new  era  of  fulfilment  and 
expansion  for  the  ideals  of  the  Laboratory  School.  Those  who 
had  piloted  this  ship  on  its  seven-year  voyage  of  discovery 
thought  at  last  they  had  found  fair  sailing.  It  proved,  how- 
ever, only  a  brief  season  of  good  passage,  for  Mr.  Dewey's 
resignation  followed  in  the  spring  of  1904.  This  action  was 
quite  as  unpremeditated  on  his  part  as  it  was  unexpected  to 
his  associates.  Early  in  the  spring  he  was  told  that  at  the  time 
of  the  merging  of  the  four  schools  assurances  had  been  given 
to  the  Trustees  of  the  Chicago  Institute  that  certain  members 
of  the  administrative  staff  of  the  elementary  school  would  be 
eliminated  at  the  close  of  the  first  year  after  the  merger.  Mr. 
Dewey  had  been  entirely  ignorant  of  these  assurances,  found 


i8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

himself  unable  to  accept  them  and  resigned,  first  as  Director 
of  the  School  of  Education  and  shortly  after  as  Head  of  the 
Departments  of  Philosophy,  Psychology,  and  Pedagogy. 

Only  the  passing  of  time  has  made  it  possible  to  state  the 
reasons  for  this  unhappy  ending  to  so  many  relationships  and 
undertakings.  With  the  resignation  of  Mr.  Dewey  and  the 
subsequent  dispersal  of  all  save  three  or  four  of  the  faculty  of 
the  Laboratory  School,  this  experiment  in  education  ended. 
The  brief  year  of  union  with  the  School  of  Education  at  Chi- 
cago marked  the  close  of  the  career  of  the  Laboratory  School, 
as  the  present  School  of  Education  can  in  no  sense  be  regarded 
as  the  heir  of  either  its  purposes  or  its  methods.  There  are 
many  progressive  schools  which  have  extended  the  work  of  the 
Dewey  School  along  certain  lines,  but  nowhere  has  its  closely 
knit  social  organization  of  children,  parents,  teachers  in  a  uni- 
versity laboratory  been  achieved.  Owing  perhaps  to  the  mech- 
anized character  of  American  life;  there  has  been  a  distinct 
failure  on  the  part  of  modern  progressive  schools  to  appreciate 
what  the  fundamental  occupations  of  living— cooking,  sewing, 
carpentry,  and  all  principal  manual- training  activities— may  do 
when  clarified  and  organized  as  a  means,  par  excellence,  of 
preserving  the  investigative  attitude  and  the  creative  ability 
of  the  growing  child  in  socially  directed  expression.  Day  by 
day  he  gains  both  in  his  skill  to  control  situations  and  to 
direct  his  own  activity  to  further  and  more  desired  ends;  he 
also  becomes  gradually  conscious  of  his  gain.  This  results  in 
an  integrated  child,  able  to  work  more  and  more  on  his  own 
initiative  and  under  his  own  guidance— a  child  who  is  matur- 
ing, who  is  both  educating  and  being  educated,  and  whose 
education  continues  throughout  life. 

When  the  four  schools  united,  there  were,  from  the  Labora- 
tory School,  a  number  of  children  who  had  received  in  that 
school  practically  all  of  their  education.  Although  their  cur- 
riculum had  always  been  different  from  that  of  the  children 
of  the  other  schools,  it  was  said  of  them  a  few  months  later, 
"Either  these  are  exceptional  children,  or  they  have  been  ex- 
ceptionally trained."  They  were,  however,  like  other  children 
of  varying  degrees  of  ability  and  types  of  temperament.  They 


GENERAL  HISTORY  19 

were  exceptional  only  as  they  represented  a  group  of  parents 
who  had  caught  a  vision  of  a  sort  of  education  which  they 
desired  to  have  their  children  experience. 

The  sense  of  frustration  with  which  these  parents  viewed 
the  apparent  shipwreck  of  their  high  hopes  was  to  some  degree 
lessened  by  the  conviction  that  what  they  had  desired  had  been 
for  a  brief  time  fulfilled.  As  the  years  passed  they  grew  more 
and  more  comforted  by  the  fact  that  what  had  seemed  to  die, 
continued  to  live,  and  was  extending  its  influence  throughout 
America,  and  even  to  foreign  lands,  such  as  China,  and  Mexico; 
to  the  early  schools  of  Soviet  Russia  and  to  those  of  many 
European  countries. 


CHAPTER    II 

EXPERIMENTAL     BASIS     OF 
CURRICULUM 

-LHE  Laboratory  School  was  both  a  department  of  the  Uni- 
versity and  a  place  where  parents  sent  children  to  be  educated. 
As  such  it  required  conditions  which  would  insure  freedom 
for  investigation  on  the  one  hand,  and  normal  development  for 
child  life  on  the  other.  This  meant  the  planning  of  a  curricu- 
lum which  was  not  static  in  character,  but  one  which  minis- 
tered constantly  to  the  changing  needs  and  interests  of  the 
growing  child's  experience.  It  involved  careful  arrangement  of 
the  physical  and  social  set-up  of  the  school  and  a  discriminat- 
ing search  for  subject-matter  which  would  fulfil  and  further 
the  growth  of  the  whole  child.  It  meant  study  and  6bservation 
in  order  that  the  materials  and  agencies  used  to  present  this 
subject-matter  should  be  in  agreement  with  the  child's  chang- 
ing attitudes  and  abilities,  and  would  link  what  was  valuable 
in  his  past  experience  to  his  present  and  his  future.  It  required 
experimentation  as  to  classroom  methods  in  the  use  of  this 
material  so  that  it  entered  vitally  into  growth  in  such  a  way 
that  control  gained  by  the  child  in  one  situation  might  be 
carried  on  to  the  next,  thus  insuring  continuity  of  experience, 
a  habit  of  initiative,  and  an  increasing  skill  in  the  use  of  the 
experimental  method.  As  a  child's  social  growth  is  largely  a 
matter  of  adaptation  to  group  relations,  it  was  of  primary 
importance  that  the  subject-matter  selected  should  be  social 
in  character  and  thus  give  free  play  to  the  child's  group  be- 
havior and  guide  the  expression  of  his  individual  interests 
toward  social  ends.  It  was  important  that  the  guidance  should 
be  of  such  a  character  that  the  child  never  felt  imposed  upon 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    21 

by  adult  standards,  but  developed  his  own  standards  out  of 
habitual  social  behavior,  that  is,  behavior  free  from  conscious 
competition  or  biased  criticism  of  others'  products. 

The  task  that  lay  before  those  who  worked  out  the  educa- 
tional implications  of  these  newly  formed  theories  was  a  dif- 
ficult one.  It  was  difficult  because  it  necessitated  the  discard- 
ing of  many  established  methods  of  teaching  and  learning.  It 
meant  the  careful  study  of  the  story  of  education,  especially  of 
those  periods  and  types  of  civilization  when  there  was  no  rift 
between  experience  and  knowledge,  when  information  about 
things  and  ways  of  doing  grew  out  of  social  situations  and 
represented  answers  to  social  needs,  when  the  education  of 
the  immature  member  of  society  proceeded  almost  wholly^ 
through  participation  in  the  social  or  community  life  of  which*' 
he  was  a  member,  and  each  individual,  no  matter  how  young, 
did  certain  things  in  the  way  of  work  and  play  along  with 
others,  and  learned,  thereby,  to  adjust  himself  to  his  surround- 
ings, to  adapt  himself  to  social  relationships,  and  to  get  control 
of  his  own  special  powers. 

"He  must  learn  by  experience"  is  an  old  adage  too  little 
heeded  by  modern  methods  of  schooling.  Too  often  these  meth- 
ods take  for  granted  that  there  is  a  short  cut  to  learning,  and 
that  knowledge  apart  from  its  use  has  meaning  for  the  develop- 
ing mind.  The  memorizing  of  such  knowledge  has  come  to  be 
a  large  part  of  present-day  education,  with  the  result  that  great 
masses  of  young  lives  have  been  denied  the  thrill  of  experi- 
mental living,  of  finding  the  way  for  themselves,  of  discovery, 
of  invention,  of  creation.  The  fine  aspiring  tendril  of  child- 
hood's native  curiosity,  like  the  waving  tip  of  a  growing  vine, 
seeks  the  how  and  why  of  doing— its  intellectual  food.  It  is 
early  stunted  in  many  children.  The  strong  urge  to  investigate, 
present  in  every  individual,  is  often  crushed  by  the  memorizing 
of  great  masses  of  information  useless  to  him,  or  the  learning 
of  skills  that  he  is  told  may  be  useful  to  him  in  the  far-away 
future,  the  sometime,  and  the  somewhere.  Only  those  in  whom 
the  urge  to  know  will  not  be  denied  break  away  into  new 
trails  by  virtue  of  individual  and  experimental  effort,  and 
when  directed  in  the  use  of  the  scientific  method,  climb  to  the 


22  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

highest  peaks  of  living;  the  majority  travel  a  wide  made-easy 
way  of  schooling  into  a  dead  level  of  mediocrity. 

It  was  necessary,  therefore,  for  these  experimenters  in  a  new 
practice  to  ignore  and  forget  certain  practices  and  precepts  of 
the  old  psychology.  They  must  hold  steadily  before  their  mental 
eyes  the  newer  psychological  principles  and  chart  a  course  of 
pedagogical  thinking  and  practice.  This  new  psychology  recog- 
nized that  the  normal  functioning  mind  of  the  child  cannot 
operate  or  develop  alone  in  a  physical  world.  It  requires,  in 
addition  to  the  continual  stimulus  of  first-hand  experience, 
that  of  contact  with  other  minds  and  social  agencies,  and  of 
recourse  to  the  accumulated  knowledge  and  past  experience  of 
the  race.  In  other  words,  educative  schooling  must  furnish  a 
social  and  intellectual  as  well  as  a  physical  environment,  in 
which  the  child  may  become  increasingly  familiar  with  all 
kinds  of  relationships  and  be  trained  to  consider  them  so  far 
as  is  necessary  in  his  individual  and  experimental  activities.  In 
general,  the  problem  and  purpose  of  this  new  type  of  school- 
ing was,  first  of  all,  to  aid  the  child  to  develop  his  own  in- 
dividuality by  expression  of  his  ideas  in  deed  as  well  as  in 
word,  and  thus  become  a  freely  maturing  person.  Always, 
however,  it  was  an  important  duty  of  those  guiding  this  process 
to  help  the  child  gradually  to  shape  his  expressions  to  social 
ends,  and  thus  make  them,  through  his  growing  control,  more 
and  more  effective  in  the  corporate  life  of  the  group. 

Such  free  use  of  his  powers  by  every  child  presupposes  that 
he  be  studied  and  understood.  Those  planning  the  activities 
must  see  each  child  as  an  ever  changing  person,  both  because 
of  what  he  undertakes  and  undergoes  in  his  social  group,  and 
because  of  the  changing  needs  of  the  succeeding  stages  of  his 
development.  They  must  carefully  select  and  grade  the  ma- 
terials used,  altering  such  selection,  as  is  necessary  in  all  ex- 
perimentation, in  accord  with  the  available  materials,  whether 
at  hand  or  remote. 

The  plan  for  the  life  of  the  school,  in  this  experiment  of 
education,  was  a  simplified  and  ordered  continuation  of  the 
life  of  the  home.  In  this  environment,  both  new  and  familiar, 
the  child,  conscious  of  no  break  in  his  experience,  could  learn 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    23 

to  become  a  useful  member  of  a  larger  social  group.  Guided 
and  stimulated  to  social  action,  he  would  naturally  judge  the 
value  of  his  action  by  the  responses  of  others.  He  gets  the  feel 
and  the  thrill  of  using  his  individual  powers  for  social  ends 
and  becomes  more  and  more  expert  in  making  his  contribu- 
tion socially  effective.  Cooperative  effort  involves  interest  in 
and  consideration  of  others;  he  more  and  more  naturally  be- 
comes alert  to  their  needs  and  generous  to  share  with  them  his 
opportunities.  An  increasing  fund  of  personally  tested  knowl- 
edge accumulates  from  these  experiments  in  human  relation- 
ships and  becomes  the  foundation  upon  which  he  builds  his 
future  social  ideals.  Increasing  confidence  in  himself  as  the 
guiding  agent  of  his  activities  makes  him  a  recognized  and 
responsible  member  of  the  group  with  the  result  that  he  is  an 
increasingly  integrated  and  happy  child,  because  he  is  satisfied, 
adjusted  to,  and  helpful  in  the  control  and  modification  of  his 
physical  and  social  environments. 

In  the  ideal  back  of  the  plan  two  cardinal  principles  were 
held  in  mind.  First,  in  all  educative  relationships  the  starting 
point  is  the  impulse  of  the  child  to  action,  his  desire  respond- 
ing to  the  surrounding  stimuli  and  seeking  its  expression  in 
concrete  form.  Second,  the  educational  process  is  to  supply 
the  materials  and  the  positive  and  negative  conditions— the  let 
and  hindrance— so  that  his  expression,  intellectually  controlled, 
may  take  a  normal  direction  that  is  social  in  both  form  and 
feeling.  These  principles  determined  the  entire  school's  opera- 
tion and  organization,  as  a  whole  and  in  detail.  Study  and 
performance  of  the  basic  and  simplified  occupations  of  life 
taught  teachers  and  children  how  to  do.  In  finding  how  to  do, 
sense  became  alert  to  note  and  select  materials  to  do  with. 
Interest  made  minds  receptive  to  facts  and  the  best  ways  of 
doing.  Knowledge  became  the  child  of  experience,  and  the  way 
of  learning  an  alluring  one.  It  was,  however,  often  a  difficult 
one  to  find.  There  were  many  false  leads  followed,  but  in  the 
end  a  faint  trail  was  made  to  which  the  hope  still  clings  that 
it  may  prove  the  pathway  to  the  promised  land. 

Starting  with  the  activities  familiar  and  natural  to  little 
children  (fundamental  and  familiar  activities  of  the  home), 


24  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  school  conceived  itself  as  an  institution  intermediate  be- 
tween the  home  and  the  larger  school  organization  of  the  com- 
munity, growing  naturally  out  of  the  one  and  into  the  other. 
All  activity  having  to  do  with  such  basic  and  continuing  needs 
of  life  as  shelter,  clothing,  and  food  became  the  central  focus 
of  a  developing  curriculum.  With  this  unifying  factor,  all  life, 
whether  of  the  home,  school,  or  larger  community,  was  seen 
as  one  and  the  same  continuous,  changing  social  life.  Similarly 
the  infant,  the  school  child,  and  the  grown  man  were  recog- 
nized as  one  and  the  same,  though  changing,  individual.  In 
consequence,  the  story  of  the  corporate  life  of  this  school  is  a 
biography,  for  it  was  as  truly  a  living,  growing  organism  as 
was  any  of  its  smaller  or  larger  members. 

In  the  informal  address  to  the  parents  and  teachers  toward 
the  close  of  the  third  year  of  the  school,  Mr.  Dewey  gave  a 
somewhat  detailed  account  of  the  practices  of  the  school  in 
relation  to  its  theoretical  principles.  Extracts  from  the  steno- 
graphic notes  of  the  address  serve  to  give  a  bird's-eye  view  of 
the  way  in  which  the  studies  and  activities  of  its  curriculum 
were  related  or  grew  out  of  the  daily  experience  of  the  chil- 
dren. These  extracts  are  supplemented  by  portions  of  a  circular 
published  during  the  school's  first  year,1 

"When  the  school  was  started,  there  were  certain  points 
which  it  seemed  worth  while  to  test—four  questions,  or  prob- 
lems in  mind.  First,  what  can  be  done,  and  how  can  it  be  done, 
to  bring  the  school,  now  a  place  where  the  child  comes,  learns 
certain  lessons,  and  then  goes  home,  into  closer  relation  with 
the  home  and  neighborhood  life;  how  bridge  the  gap,  and 
break  down  the  traditional  barriers,  which  unfortunately  now 
separate  the  school  from  the  rest  of  the  child's  everyday  life? 
This  does  not  mean,  as  sometimes  interpreted,  that  the  child 
should  study  in  school  things  he  already  has  learned  at  home, 
but  that,  so  far  as  possible,  he  should  take  the  same  attitude 
and  point  of  view  at  school  as  at  home;  that  he  should  feel 
the  same  interest  in  going  to  school  because  he  finds  there 
things  worth  doing  for  their  own  sake  and  just  as  interesting  as 

i  John  Dewey,  "The  University  Elementary  School,  Studies  and  Methods/' 
University  Record,  May  31,  1897. 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    25 

the  plays  and  occupations  of  his  home  and  neighborhood. 
Again,  the  same  motives  which  keep  the  child  at  work  and 
growing  should  be  used  in  the  school  as  in  the  home,  so  that 
he  shall  not  feel  that  he  has  one  set  of  reasons  which  belongs 
to  the  school  and  another  which  is  used  in  the  home. 

"Second,  how  can  history  and  science  and  art  be  introduced 
so  that  they  will  be  of  positive  value  and  have  real  significance 
in  the  child's  own  present  experience?  How  can  they  be  made 
to  represent,  even  to  the  youngest  child,  something  worthy  of 
attainment  in  skill  or  knowledge;  something  just  as  worthy 
to  him  because  it  is,  at  his  level,  as  truly  satisfying  intellectually 
and  emotionally  as  anything  a  high  school  or  college  student 
might  be  able  to  get  at  his  period  of  education?  It  is  true,  many 
modifications  have  been  made  in  the  traditional  primary  cur- 
riculum of  most  schools.  Statistics  recently  collected,  however, 
show  that  seventy-five  to  eighty  per  cent  of  the  first  years  of  a 
child  in  school  is  spent  upon  the  form,  not  the  substance  of 
learning;  is  given  to  the  mastering  of  the  symbols  of  read- 
ing, writing,  and  arithmetic.  There  is  not  much  positive  nutri- 
ment in  this.  Its  purpose  is  important,  but  it  does  not  represent 
the  same  kind  of  addition  or  increase  in  a  child's  whole  in- 
tellectual and  moral  experience  that  is  represented  by  the  posi- 
tive subject-matter,  now  postponed  to  the  later  years  of  the 
child's  education.  One  purpose,  then,  of  the  experiment  is  to 
see  how  much  can  be  given  to  the  child  of  the  experiences  of 
the  world  about  him  that  is  really  worth  his  while  to  get;  how 
far  first-hand  experience  with  the  forces  in  that  world  and 
knowledge  of  its  historical  and  social  growth  will  enable  him 
to  develop  the  capacity  to  express  himself  in  a  variety  of  artistic 
forms.  From  the  strictly  educational  side  this  has  been  the  chief 
problem  of  the  school.  It  is  along  this  line  that  we  hope  to 
make  our  chief  contribution  to  education  in  general.  To  this 
end,  those  subjects  which  have  a  positive  content  and  intrinsic 
value  of  their  own,  and  which  call  forth  the  inquiring  and 
constructive  attitude  on  the  part  of  the  pupil  are  made  the 
core  of  the  school  work. 

"In  the  third  place,  how  can  instruction  in  the  formal, 
symbolic  branches  of  learning—the  mastering  of  the  ability 


26  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

to  read,  write,  and  use  figures  Intelligently— be  gained  out  of 
other  studies  and  occupations  as  their  background?  How  can 
the  child  be  made  to  regard  symbols  as  instruments  and  meth- 
ods needful  in  his  study  of  those  subjects  which  appeal  to  him 
on  their  own  account?  It  is  clear  that  need,  when  felt  by  the 
child,  would  supply  the  motive  for  getting  technical  capacity, 
and  the  question  of  the  adjustment  of  these  two  sides  of  the 
work  would  be  solved.  It  is  not  the  purpose,  as  has  been  stated, 
of  this  school  that  the  child  learn  to  bake  and  sew  at  school, 
and  to  read,  write,  and  figure  at  home.  It  is  true,  however,  that 
these  subjects  of  reading,  writing,  etc.,  are  not  presented  dur- 
ing the  early  years  in  large  doses.  Instead,  the  child  is  led  by 
other  means  to  feel  the  motives  for  acquiring  skill  in  the  use 
of  these  symbols,  motives  which  persist  when  competition, 
often  the  only  motive  in  the  early  years  of  many  schools,  ceases. 
In  this  school,  as  well  as  in  all  schools,  if  a  child  realizes  the 
motive  for  acquiring  skill,  he  is  helped  in  large  measure  to 
secure  the  skill.  Books  and  the  ability  to  read  are,  therefore, 
regarded  strictly  as  tools.  The  child  must  learn  to  use  these, 
just  as  he  would  any  other  tools.  This  implies  that  he  shall 
have  arrived  at  some  conception  of  what  they  are  for  and  have 
some  end  in  view  or  motive  for  using  them,  and  that  the  actual 
learning  to  read  shall  grow  out  of  this  motive.  Accordingly,  no 
special  effort  is  made  to  teach  children  to  read  in  the  sixth 
year,  or  even  in  the  seventh,  unless  the  indications  are  that 
the  child  is  awakening  to  his  needs  in  that  direction.  The  pre- 
mature teaching  of  reading,  in  the  present  school  system,  in- 
volves undue  strain  on  the  eyes  and  the  nervous  system,  takes 
time  away  from  subjects  which  have  a  positive  content,  and 
devotes  it  to  a  purely  formal  study,  which  the  child  can  master 
with  much  less  strain  and  more  quickly  when  he  is  ready  for 
it.  The  aim  is  thus  to  familiarize  the  child  with  the  use  of 
language  as  a  means  of  discovering  something  otherwise  un- 
known and  of  sharing  with  others  what  he  himself  has  found 
out.  Hence  reading  is  taught  in  close  connection  with  other 
subjects,  science  and  history,  not  as  a  subject  by  itself.  As  soon 
as  the  child  has  an  idea  what  reading  is  for  and  has  a  certain 
amount  of  technical  facility,  printed  material  is  supplied  him, 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    27 

not  as  a  text-book,  but  as  an  additional  tool  in  his  equipment. 
The  prevalent  use  of  text-books  has  two  evils.  First,  the  child 
forms  a  habit  of  depending  upon  them  and  comes  almost  in- 
stinctively to  assume  that  the  book  is  the  chief,  if  not  the  only 
way,  of  getting  information.  Then,  the  use  of  books,  as  texts, 
throws  the  mind  into  a  passive  and  absorbing  attitude.  The 
child  is  learning  instead  of  inquiring. 

"In  the  fourth  place,  individual  attention  is  secured  by  small 
groupings  of  children  and  a  large  number  of  teachers,  who 
attempt  to  supervise  systematically  the  intellectual  and  phys- 
ical work  of  the  child.  This  insures  attention,  so  far  as  those 
in  charge  are  capable  of  giving  it,  to  the  general  well-being 
and  development  of  each  child.  It  also  enables  them  to  carry 
on  in  connection  with  school  work  a  certain  amount  of  in- 
vestigation of  the  psychological  and  physiological  needs  and 
powers  of  individual  children.  .  .  . 

'The  use  of  the  hand,  and  other  motor  organs  in  connection 
with  the  eye,  is  the  great  instrument  through  which  the  chil- 
dren most  easily  and  naturally  gain  experience  and  come  in 
contact  with  the  familiar  materials  and  processes  of  ordinary 
life.  It  affords  unrivalled  means  for  securing  and  holding  at- 
tention. It  is  full  of  opportunities  for  cultivating  the  social 
spirit  through  the  opportunities  it  affords  for  division  of  labor 
and  mutual  cooperation,  and  supplies  the  child  with  motives 
for  working  in  ways  positively  useful  to  the  community  of 
which  he  is  a  member.  The  use  of  the  hand  is  again  the  best 
possible  instrument  for  cultivating  habits  of  industry  and  con- 
tinuity in  work,  and  of  securing  personal  deftness  and  dexterity 
at  the  plastic  period.  When  conducted  in  a  free  instead  of 
mechanical  spirit,  it  develops  more  than  any  other  one  in- 
strumentality, ingenuity  in  planning  and  power  in  execution. 
The  constant  testimony  is  that  nothing  compares  with  it  as 
a  means  of  arousing  the  child  to  a  positive  sense  of  his  own 
power,  and  of  encouraging  him  in  expression  and  construc- 
tion. Furthermore,  such  training  affords  constantly  recurring 
opportunities  for  related  work  in  other  directions.  Cooking, 
for  example,  is  a  natural  avenue  of  approach  to  simple  but 
fundamental  chemical  facts  and  principles  and  to  a  study  of 


s>8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  plants  as  articles  of  food.  Similarly,  a  study  of  the  ma- 
terials and  processes  involved  is  carried  on  in  connection  with 
sewing,  and  includes  a  study  of  the  history  of  invention,  of 
geography  (localities  of  production  and  manufacturing,  with 
lines  of  distribution),  and  of  the  growth  and  cultivation  of 
plants,  like  cotton  and  flax  which  furnish  the  raw  material. 
Recourse  to  measurement  is  had  in  these  subjects.  The  car- 
pentry work,  in  particular,  constantly  calls  for  calculation  and 
gives  the  child  a  command  of  numerical  processes  in  a  related 
way,  and  a  genuine  number  sense  is  thus  cultivated.  Three 
main  lines  of  manual  training  are  pursued  regularly,  shop- 
work  with  wood  and  tools,  the  cooking,  and  the  work  with 
the  textile  fabrics.  There  is  also  much  other  hand-work  in- 
cident to  the  experimental  sciences.  Indeed  experience  verifies 
the  statement  that  hand-work,  in  variety  and  amount,  is  the 
most  easy  and  natural  of  all  ways  to  keep  an  attitude  of  com- 
bined effort  and  interest  on  the  part  of  the  child.  The  purpose, 
therefore,  of  those  teaching  and  directing  is  to  direct  these 
activities,  to  systematize  and  organize  them  so  that  they  shall 
not  be  as  haphazard  and  wandering  as  they  customarily  are  in 
child's  play  and  home  life.  One  of  the  most  difficult  problems 
is  to  enable  the  children  to  work  continuously  and  definitely, 
and  to  help  them  pass  from  one  phase  of  an  activity  to  another. 
"Carpentry,  cooking,  sewing,  and  weaving— all  require  dif- 
ferent sorts  of  skill  and  represent,  as  well,  some  of  the  most 
important  industries  of  the  everyday  outside  world.  The  ques- 
tions of  living  under  shelter,  of  living  in  a  home,  of  daily  food 
and  clothing,  of  protection  through  the  home,  and  the  support 
of  life  through  food  are  basic  things  for  all  higher  civilization. 
A  child's  interests  are  so  direct  and  immediate  that  these  things 
appeal  to  him.  He  gets  through  such  activities,  also,  a  training 
of  the  sense  organs,  of  touch,  of  eye,  and  the  ability  to  co- 
ordinate hand  and  eye.  They  furnish,  as  well,  a  healthy  sort 
of  exercise.  They  are  more  natural  to  child  life  than  to  keep 
continually  quiet,  to  work  at  a  book,  or  to  engage  in  more 
formal  modes  of  action.  In  addition,  there  is  a  continual  ap- 
peal to  memory,  to  judgment  in  adapting  ends  to  means.  Train- 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    29 

ing  in  habits  of  order,  of  industry,  and  of  neatness  in  the  care 
of  tools,  or  utensils  are  also  by-products,  for  the  child  gets  at 
things  in  a  systematic  instead  of  a  haphazard  way. 

"All  the  children  (boys  and  girls  being  treated  alike)  have 
cooking,  sewing,  and  carpentry,  besides  incidental  work  with 
paper  and  pasteboard.  From  one  to  two  hours  a  week  are  given 
to  sewing,  cooking,  and  carpentry  respectively.  Each  group  of 
children  prepares  its  own  luncheon  once  a  week,  being  re- 
sponsible for  the  setting  of  the  table,  reception  of  guests,  and 
the  serving  of  the  meal.  This  is  found  to  afford  a  positive 
motive  for  the  cooking,  as  well  as  to  give  it  a  social  value.  In 
the  carpentry  shop  no  rigid  series  of  exercises  is  followed.  The 
aim  is  to  adapt  the  tools  and  materials  to  the  muscular  and 
mental  power  of  the  child.  The  things  made  are,  in  the  first 
place,  the  articles  needed  in  the  school  work.  For  example, 
wands,  dumb-bell  racks,  and  wand-racks  have  been  made  for 
the  gymnasium,  and  simple  balances,  with  lead  weights,  test- 
tube  racks,  and  simple  experimental  apparatus,  for  the  labora- 
tory. All  of  this  active  individual  experience  makes  a  back- 
ground, especially  in  the  earlier  groups,  for  the  later  studies. 
Children  get  a  good  deal  of  chemistry  in  connection  with  cook- 
ing, of  number-work  and  geometrical  principles  in  connection 
with  their  theoretical  work  in  carpentry,  and  quite  an  amount 
of  geography  very  easily  and  naturally  in  connection  with  sew- 
ing. History  enters  in  as  the  story  of  industrial  development 
and  growth  of  various  inventions. 

"Upon  the  whole,  greater  attention  has  been  given  to  the 
relation  of  the  positive  subject-matter  to  the  activity  program, 
than  to  any  other  one  aspect.  History  is  introduced  at  a  very 
early  period  and  is  conducted  on  the  principle  that  it  is  a 
means  of  affording  the  child  insight  into  social  life.  It  is  treated, 
therefore,  not  as  a  record  of  something  which  is  past  and  gone, 
but  as  a  way  of  realizing  what  enters  into  the  make-up  of 
society  and  of  how  society  has  grown  to  be  what  it  is.  Treated 
thus,  as  a  mode  of  insight  into  social  life,  great  emphasis  is 
laid  upon  the  typical  relations  of  humanity  to  nature,  as 
summed  up  in  the  development  of  food,  shelter,  habitation, 


3o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

clothing,  and  industrial  occupations.  This  affords  insight  into 
the  fundamental  processes  and  instruments  which  have  con- 
trolled the  development  of  civilization  and  also  affords  natural 
and  frequent  opportunities  for  adjusting  the  work  in  history  to 
that  in  manual  training  on  the  one  side,  and  to  science  on  the 
other. 

"The  younger  children  begin  with  the  home  and  the  occupa- 
tions of  the  home.  In  the  sixth  year  (of  the  child)  these  lead 
to  a  study  of  the  occupations  outside  the  home,  the  larger 
social  industries—farming,  mining,  lumbering—that  they  may 
see  the  complex  and  various  occupations  on  which  life  de- 
pends. They  experiment  with  raw  materials,  with  the  various 
metals  and  observe  materials  new  to  them,  noting  what  they 
are  like  and  their  uses.  This  makes  a  beginning  of  scientific 
study. 

"The  following  year  takes  up  the  historical  development 
of  industry  and  invention.  Starting  with  man  as  a  savage,  the 
typical  phases  of  his  progress  upward  are  followed,  until  the 
iron  age  is  reached  when  man  has  begun  to  enter  upon  a  civi- 
lized career.  The  object  of  this  study  of  the  primitive  period 
is  not  to  keep  the  child  in  the  primitive  period,  but  rather  to 
show  him  the  steps  of  progress  and  development,  especially 
along  the  line  of  invention,  by  which  man  was  led  into  civiliza- 
tion. There  is  a  certain  nearness,  after  all  in  the  child,  to 
primitive  forms  of  life.  It  is  much  more  simple,  and  by  throw- 
ing emphasis  on  the  progress  of  man  and  the  way  advances  took 
place,  it  is  hoped  to  avoid  the  objections  that  are  made,  and 
validly  so,  of  paying  too  much  attention  to  savage  life, 

"It  is  at  this  point  that  the  study  of  history,  as  such,  really 
begins,  as  the  story  of  primitive  life  cannot  properly  be  called 
history.  In  the  school  about  this  time  a  year  was  given  to  the 
world  wide  explorations  and  discoveries,  which  developed  an 
idea  of  the  world  as  a  whole  and  served  as  an  introduction  to 
the  history  of  the  settlements  in  America.  Study  of  the  early 
fur  traders  of  North  America,  who  established  the  trade  routes, 
led  naturally  to  the  settlement  of  Chicago.  This  with  some 
local  history  prefaced  the  general  American  history  of  the  next 
two  or  three  years.  Greek  and  Roman  history  were  then  in- 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    31 

troduced,  and  finally,  the  regular  chronological  order  of  the 
development  of  civilization  is  adopted. 

"As  regards  the  study  of  literature,  perhaps  the  most  striking 
departure  from  methods  pursued  in  other  progressive  schools 
is  that  literature  is  regarded  as  a  social  expression.  It  is  ap- 
proached, therefore,  through  the  medium  of  history,  instead 
of  studying  history  through  the  medium  of  literature.  This 
method  puts  the  latter  subject  in  its  proper  perspective,  and 
avoids  the  danger  of  distracting  and  over-stimulating  the  child 
with  stories  which  to  him  (however  they  may  be  to  the  adult) 
are  simply  stories.  In  developing  the  work  upon  Greek  life, 
for  example,  it  was  found  that  practically  all  the  books  for 
children  are  composed  from  the  strictly  literary  side.  Many 
of  them  in  addition  make  the  myth  fundamental,  instead  of 
an  incident  to  the  intellectual  and  social  development  of  the 
Greek  people. 

"Both  nature  study  (that  is  the  study  through  observation  of 
obvious  natural  phenomena)  and  experimental  work  are  in- 
troduced from  the  beginning.  The  science  is  very  much  more 
difficult  to  arrange  and  systematize.  There  is  so  little  to  follow, 
so  little  that  has  been  already  done.  It  is  impossible  to  exag- 
gerate this  statement.  The  slight  amount  of  work  in  science 
that  has  been  developed  in  any  systematic  way  for  the  use  of 
children,  which  purposes  to  cultivate  their  powers  of  noting 
the  habits  of  plants  and  animals  and  of  observing  things  with 
reference  to  their  uses,  is  almost  negligible.  The  earth  is,  per- 
haps, the  focus  for  the  science  study  as  practically  all  of  the 
work  relates  to  it  sooner  or  later,  and  in  one  way  or  another. 

"Children  of  six  as  well  as  those  of  ten  work  in  the  labora- 
tory, and  with  equal  profit,  both  as  regards  the  development 
of  their  intelligence  and  the  acquisition  of  skill  and  dexterity 
in  manipulation.  The  attempt  is  not  to  give  them  analytic 
knowledge  of  objects  or  minute  formulations  of  scientific  prin- 
ciples, either  of  which  are  incomprehensible  to  a  child  of  this 
age.  The  object  is  to  arouse  his  spirit  of  curiosity  and  investiga- 
tion and  awaken  him  to  a  consciousness  of  the  world  in  which 
he  lives,  to  train  the  powers  of  observation,  to  instil  a  practical 
sense  of  methods  of  inquiry,  and  gradually  to  form  in  the  mind 


32  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

images  of  the  typical  moving  forces  and  processes  involved  in 
all  natural  change.  The  results  thus  far  show  an  eager  and 
definite  response  to  this  mode  of  approach. 

"Another  aspect  of  the  science  studied  is  the  application  of 
natural  forces  to  the  service  of  man  through  machines.  Last 
year  a  good  deal  of  work  was  done  in  electricity,  based  on  the 
telegraph  and  the  telephone.  Things  that  could  easily  be 
grasped  were  taken  up.  In  mechanics,  they  have  studied  locks 
and  clocks  with  reference  to  the  adaptation  of  the  various  parts 
of  the  machinery  to  accomplish  their  work.  Cooking  also  gives 
opportunity  for  unconscious  absorption  of  a  great  many  me- 
chanical ideas  of  heat  and  water.  In  general,  the  scientific  work 
in  this  school  differs  from  that  of  other  schools  in  having  the 
experimental  part  of  both  physics  and  chemistry  emphasized. 
It  does  not  confine  the  science  work  to  nature  study,  the  study 
of  plants  and  animals.  This  does  not  imply,  that  the  latter  is 
less  valuable,  but  does  maintain  that  physical  science  should 
be  brought  into  the  program  from  the  first,  by  introducing 
larger  generalizations  in  a  story  form. 

"As  regards  the  spirit  of  the  school,  the  chief  object  is  to 
secure  a  free  and  informal  community  life  in  which  each  child 
will  feel  that  he  has  a  share  and  his  own  work  to  do.  This  is 
made  the  chief  motive  towards  what  are  ordinarily  termed 
order  and  discipline.  It  is  believed  that  the  only  genuine  order 
and  discipline  are  those  which  proceed  from  the  child's  own 
respect  for  the  work  which  he  has  to  do  and  his  consciousness 
of  the  rights  of  others  who  are,  with  himself,  taking  part  in 
this  work.  As  already  suggested,  the  emphasis  in  the  school 
upon  various  forms  of  practical  and  constructive  activity  gives 
ample  opportunity  for  appealing  to  the  child's  social  sense 
and  to  his  regard  for  thorough  and  honest  work. 

"Genuine,  as  distinct  from  artificial,  moral  growth  is  meas- 
ured by  the  extent  to  which  children  practically  recognize  in 
the  school  the  same  moral  motives  and  relations  that  obtain 
outside.  This  can  be  secured  only  when  the  school  contains  the 
social  conditions  and  presents  the  flexible,  informal  relations 
that  prevail  in  everyday  life.  When  school  duties  and  responsi- 
bilities are  of  a  sort  found  only  in  the  school,  comparatively 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    33 

little  aid  is  secured  for  the  all-round  healthy  development  of 
character.  When  school  conditions  are  so  rigid  and  formal  as 
not  to  parallel  anything  outside  the  school,  external  order  and 
decorum  may  be  secured,  but  there  is  no  guarantee  of  right 
growth  in  directions  demanded  by  the  ordinary  walks  of  life. 
When  what  is  expected  of  children  is  based  on  the  require- 
ments of  school  lessons  and  school  order,  as  laid  down  by  text- 
book or  teacher,  not  by  work  of  positive  value  to  those  doing 
it,  external  habits  of  attention  and  restraint  may  be  formed, 
but  not  power  of  initiative  and  direction,  nor  moral  self- 
control.  Hence  the  emphasis  in  the  school  laid  upon  social  oc- 
cupations, which  continue  and  reinforce  those  of  life  outside 
the  school,  and  the  comparative  freedom  and  informality  ac- 
corded the  children.  These  are  means,  not  an  end.  Moral  re- 
sponsibility is  secured  only  by  corresponding  freedom.  Hence 
the  school  work  on  the  moral  side  is  to  be  judged,  not  by  pass- 
ing external  occurrences  or  external  evidences  or  attitudes,  but 
by  its  efficiency  in  promoting  healthy  growth  of  character  in 
the  child  and  a  general  modification  of  disposition  and  motive, 
both  of  which  are  slow  processes  and  not  sudden  transforma- 
tions. 

"For  genuine  intellectual  development  it  is  impossible  to 
separate  the  attainment  of  knowledge  from  its  application.  The 
divorce  between  learning  and  its  use  is  the  most  serious  defect 
of  our  existing  education.  Without  the  consciousness  of  ap- 
plication, learning  has  no  motive  to  the  child.  Material  thus 
learned  is  separated  from  the  actual  conditions  of  the  child's 
life,  and  a  fatal  split  is  introduced  between  school  learning 
and  vital  experience— a  split  which  reflects  itself  in  the  child's 
whole  mental  and  moral  attitude.  The  emphasis  in  the  school 
upon  constructive  and  so-called  manual  work  is  due  largely 
to  the  fact  that  such  occupations  connect  themselves  easily  and 
naturally  with  the  child's  everyday  environment.  They  create 
natural  motives  for  the  acquiring  of  information  and  the  mas- 
tery of  related  methods  through  the  problems  which  they 
introduce. 

"As  to  methods,  the  aim  is  to  keep  alive  and  direct  the  active 
inquiring  attitude  of  the  child,  and  to  subordinate  the  amass- 


34  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

ing  of  facts  and  principles  to  the  development  of  intellectual 
self-control  and  of  power  to  conceive  and  solve  problems.  Im- 
mense damage  is  done  whenever  the  getting  of  a  certain 
quantity  of  information  or  the  covering  a  certain  amount  of 
ground  is  made  the  end,  at  the  expense  of  mastery  by  each 
child,  of  a  method  of  inquiry  and  of  reflection.  If  children  can 
retain  their  natural  investigating  tendencies  unimpaired, 
gradually  organizing  them  into  definite  methods  of  work,  when 
they  reach  the  proper  age,  they  can  master  the  required  amount 
of  facts  and  generalizations  easily  and  effectively.  Whereas, 
when  the  latter  are  forced  upon  them  at  so  early  a  period  as 
to  crush  the  natural  interest  in  searching  out  new  truths, 
acquiring  tends  to  replace  inquiring. 

"The  social  spirit  of  the  school  thus  furnishes  the  controlling 
moral  motive  of  the  child.  His  own  alert  inquiring  attitude 
is  his  intellectual  spur.  Along  with  this  goes  the  possibility 
of  attention  to  individuals  as  such.  For  purposes  of  convenience 
the  children  are  divided  into  small  groups  of  eight  to  twelve 
according  to  the  kind  of  work  and  the  age  of  the  children. 
It  is  expected  that  the  teacher  will  give  attention  to  the  specific 
powers  and  deficiencies  of  each  child,  so  that  the  individual 
capacities  will  be  brought  out,  and  individual  limitations  made 
good.  This  attention  extends  to  the  physical  as  well  as  the  in- 
tellectual side.  Each  child  receives  a  personal  physical  exami- 
nation in  the  gymnasium,  and  all  defects  are  reported  to  the 
parent  in  order  that  the  child  may  have  the  special  exercises 
needed  to  build  him  up.  He  also  is  examined  in  the  psycho- 
logical laboratory  of  the  University,  with  reference  to  his  sense 
organs  and  motor  powers.  Almost  twenty  per  cent  of  the  chil- 
dren in  the  school  have  been  thus  far  reported  to  their  parents 
as  needing  either  special  exercises  or  the  attention  of  a  com- 
petent medical  specialist  to  the  eyes,  ears,  or  throat. 

"The  School  is  often  called  an  experimental  school.  In  one 
sense  this  is  the  proper  name,  for  it  is  an  experiment  school—- 
with reference  to  education  and  educational  problems  in  which 
an  attempt  is  being  made  to  find  by  experience  whether  and 
how  these  problems  may  be  worked  out,  A  characteristic  of 
experiment  is  change  or  modification  of  the  original  method 


EXPERIMENTAL  BASIS  OF  CURRICULUM    35 

or  plan.  There  are  two  points  upon  which  the  ideas  and  policy 
of  the  school  have  been  modified,  where  the  point  of  view  has 
changed  in  process.  When  the  school  was  small,  it  was  intended 
to  mix  up  the  children,— the  older  and  the  younger— to  the 
end  that  the  younger  might  learn  unconsciously  from  the 
older.  There  seemed  moral  advantages  to  both,  in  having  the 
older  assume  certain  responsibilities  in  the  care  of  the  younger. 
As  the  school  grew,  it  became  necessary  to  abandon  this  policy 
and  to  group  the  children  with  reference  to  their  common 
capabilities  or  store  of  knowledge.  These  groups  are  based  not 
on  ability  to  read,  write,  etc.,  but  on  the  basis  of  community 
of  interest,  general  intellectual  capacity  and  mental  alertness, 
and  the  ability  to  do  certain  kinds  of  work.  In  other  ways, 
however,  children  of  different  groups  are  still  mingling,  as  they 
move  about  and  come  in  contact  with  different  teachers.  Thus 
the  gap  between  groups  is  bridged  and  the  step-ladder  system 
of  the  public  school  avoided.  .  .  . 

"The  children  also  meet  in  general  'assemblies  for  singing 
and  for  the  report  of  the  school  work  as  read  by  different  mem- 
bers of  the  groups.  All  hear  the  report  of  what  each  group  is 
doing.  This  mixture  of  the  ages  is  also  secured  by  giving  to 
the  older  children  for  a  half  hour  a  week,  responsibility  for 
the  work  of  some  of  the  younger  groups.  This  enables  them, 
especially  in  hand-work,  to  enter  into  the  activity  of  the 
younger  children  by  cooperating  with  them. 

"As  a  result  of  experience,  the  other  chief  modification  has 
been  with  regard  to  specialization  on  the  part  of  teachers.  It 
was  assumed,  at  first,  that  an  all-round  teacher  would  be  the 
best,  and  perhaps  it  would  be  advisable  to  have  one  teacher 
teach  the  children  in  several  branches.  This  theory,  however, 
has  been  abandoned,  and  it  has  been  thought  well  to  secure 
teachers  who  are  specialists  by  taste  and  training— experts  along 
different  lines.  One  of  the  reasons  for  this  modification  of  the 
original  plan  was  the  difficulty  of  getting  scientific  facts  pre- 
sented that  were  facts  and  truths.  It  has  been  assumed  that  any 
phenomenon  that  interested  a  child  was  good  enough,  and  that 
if  he  were  aroused  and  made  alert,  that  was  all  that  could  be 
expected.  It  is,  however,  just  as  necessary  that  what  he  gets 


36  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

should  be  truth  and  should  not  be  subordinated  to  anything 
else.  The  training  of  observation  by  having  the  child  see  wrong 
is  not  so  desirable  as  sometimes  it  has  been  thought  to  be.  The 
difficulty  of  getting  scientific  work  presented  except  by  those 
who  were  specialists  has  led  to  the  change  in  regard  to  other 
subjects  as  well. 

"On  the  other  hand,  however,  it  has  been  recognized  that, 
in  the  effort  to  avoid  the  serious  evils  of  the  first  situation, 
there  is  a  tendency  to  swing  from  one  extreme  to  the  other. 
That  when  specialists  are  employed  the  result  is  often  that 
each  does  his  work  independently  of  the  other,  and  the  unity 
of  the  child's  life  is  thus  sacrificed  to  the  tastes  and  acquisitions 
of  a  number  of  specialists.  It  seemed,  however,  not  a  question 
of  the  specialist  but  of  the  expert.  When  manual  training,  art, 
science,  and  literature  are  to  be  taught,  it  is  a  physical  and 
mental  impossibility  that  one  person  should  be  competent  in 
all  these  lines  of  work.  Superficial  work  is  bound  to  be  done 
in  some  one  of  them,  and  the  child,  through  not  having  a 
model  of  expert  workmanship  to  follow,  acquires  careless  and 
imperfect  methods  of  work.  The  school,  accordingly,  is  en- 
deavoring to  put  the  various  lines  of  work  in  charge  of  experts 
who  maintain  agreement  and  harmony  through  continued  con- 
sultation and  cooperation.  When  the  different  studies  and  oc- 
cupations are  controlled  by  reference  to  the  same  general 
principles,  unity  of  aim  and  method  are  secured.  The  results 
obtained  justify  the  belief  that  the  undue  separation,  which 
often  follows  teaching  by  specialists,  is  a  result  of  lack  of  super- 
vision, cooperation,  and  control  by  a  unified  plan." 

This  principle  of  guidance  by  experts  referred  to  by  Mr. 
Dewey  was  continued  throughout  the  school's  existence  and 
was  fundamental  to  the  plan.  Experience  showed  that  the  so- 
cial spirit  of  the  school  successfully  avoided  the  dangers  of  too 
narrow  and  therefore  isolated  specialization  in  subject-matter 
and  method. 


PART  II 

THE  CURRICULUM-SOCIAL  OCCUPATIONS 


CHAPTER    III 

EXPERIMENTAL     PRACTICES 
DEVELOPING     THE     CURRICULUM 

studying  the  developing  curriculum  of  the  Laboratory 
School,  two  periods  may  be  recognized.  The  practices  of  the 
first  period  (1896  to  1898)  were  largely  experimental  and 
guided  by  the  theoretical  premises  of  its  hypothesis,  native  in- 
sight as  to  the  nature  of  children,  practical  acquaintance  with 
certain  fields  of  subject-matter,  and  first-hand  experience  in 
the  use  of  scientific  method.  Those  of  the  second  period  (1898 
to  1903)  grew  out  of  or  were  revised  on  the  basis  of  the  courses 
and  methods  that  had  proved  successful  in  the  first. 

In  plannmgji.  school,  program  that  was  to  be  an  experiment 
in  cooperative  living,  the  child  was  the  person  of  first  concern. 
There  were  certain  theoretical  premises  in  its  underlying 
hypothesis— certain  general  principles— which  were  to  be  aids 
in  understanding  its  purposes  and  in  guiding  its  practices. 

1  "The  primary  business  of  school  is  to  train  children  in  co- 
operative and  mutually  helpful  living,  to  foster  in  them  the 
consciousness  of  interdependence,  and  to  help  them  practically 
in  making  the  adjustments  that  will  carry  this  spirit  into  overt 
deeds.  The  primary  root  of  all  educative  activity  is  in  the  in- 
stinctive, impulsive  attitudes  and  activities  of  the  child.  .  .  . 
Accordingly,  the  numberless  spontaneous  activities  of  children, 
plays,  games,  mimic  efforts,  even  the  apparently  meaningless 
motions  of  infants  are  capable  of  educational  use,  are  the 
foundation-stones  of  educational  method. 

"These  individual  tendencies  and  activities  are  only  organized 
and  exercised  through  their  use  in  an  actual  process  of  co- 

ijohn  Dewey,  "Froebel's  Educational  Principles,'*  Elementary  School 
Record,  No.  i,  February,  1900. 

39 


4o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

operative  living;  the  best  results  follow  when  such  a  process 
reproduces  on  the  child's  plane  the  typical  doings  and  occupa- 
tions of  the  larger,  maturer  society  into  which  he  is  finally 
to  go  forth;  and  it  is  only  through  such  productive  and  creative 
use  that  valuable  knowledge  is  secured  and  clinched." 

FOUR  NATIVE  IMPULSES 

The  problem  therefore  became  one  of  how  to  utilize  the 
child's  individual  tendencies,  his  original  impulses  to  express 
himself  with  such  growing  power  and  skill  as  to  help  him 
contribute  with  increasing  effectiveness  to  the  life  of  his  group. 
For  purposes  of  convenience,  these  native  impulses  are  roughly 
classified  and  described  by  Mr.  Dewey  under  four  heads:  the 
social,  the  constructive,  the  investigative,  and  the  expressive. 

The  social  impulse  of  a  little  child  is  shown  in  his  desire  to 
share  with  his  family  and  others  the  experiences  of  his  limited 
world.  This  self-centered  interest  in  his  own  immediate  en- 
vironment is  capable  of  a  continuing  expansion;  it  is  the  tap- 
root of  his  intellectual  life.  His  desire  to  tell  about  things,  to 
share  his  ideas  with  others,  takes  advantage  of  all  possible  ways 
of  expression  and  communication  and  influences  his  growth 
profoundly.  The  language  instinct,  the  simplest  form  of  the 
social  expression  of  a  child,  is,  therefore,  a  great,  perhaps  the 
greatest,  of  all  educational  resources.2 

The  child's  impulse  to  do,  to  make—  the  constructive  impulse 
—finds  expression  first  in  play,  in  rhythmic  movement,  in  ges- 
ture, and  make-believe;  then  becomes  more  definite  and  seeks 
outlet  in  shaping  raw  materials  into  tangible  form  and  perma- 
nent embodiment.  As  these  self-initiated  social  and  construc- 
tive efforts  of  the  child,  aided  by  skilful  direction  from  with- 
out, are  shaped  to  his  own  definitely  imaged  and  desired  ends, 

2  All  the  expressive  arts,  modeling,  painting,  drawing,  etc.,  might  be 
included  either  under  this  heading  or  that  of  the  constructive  impulse. 
Mr.  Dewey  suggests  that  the  impulse  to  this  kind  of  expression  probably 
originates  in  both  the  social  and  constructive  impulses  of  the  child,  that 
they  are  in  reality  refinements  of  them.  For  purposes  of  convenience, 
however,  these  expressions  are  grouped  under  a  separate  heading  of 
artistic  activities. 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    41 

they  result  in  helpful  contributions  to  the  common  work  and 
play.  The  very  sense  of  having  helped  out  turns  back  into  and 
enhances  the  child's  estimate  of  his  own  power.  He  finds  for 
himself  a  consummate  value  in  such  a  realization  and  is  stimu- 
lated to  further  and  better  efforts.  Little  by  little,  a  construc- 
tive way  of  acting  becomes  habitual  and  results  in  a  developing 
experience  for  the  child  and  for  the  group,  an  experience 
which  is  continually  refined  and  enriched  as  it  enlarges  day 
by  day. 

The  impulse  to  investigate  and  experiment  is  often  a  com- 
bination of  the  constructive  and  the  conversational  impulses. 
Hence,  in  the  school,  there  was  no  distinction  made  between 
the  experimental  science  for  the  little  children  and  the  work 
done  in  the  carpentry  shop'.  They  liked  best  of  all  to  do  things 
just  to  see  what  would  happen.  The  teacher's  part  was  to  con- 
trive that  one  result  should  lead  through  one  meaning  to  an- 
other, to  ever  more  meaningful  results. 

The  expressive  impulse,  like  the  investigative,  seems  to  fol- 
low the  communicating  and  constructive  impulses;  it  is  their 
refinement  and  full  manifestation.  All  the  utensils  and  ma- 
terials necessary  to  express  ideas  were,  therefore,  at  hand  when 
the  desire  to  do  so  sprang  out  of  the  children's  activities. 

EXPERIMENTAL   USE   OF   NATIVE   IMPULSES    (FIRST  TWO   YEARS) 

These  fourfold  desires— to  communicate,  to  construct,  to  in- 
quire, and  to  express  in  finer  form— are  the  child's  natural 
springs  for  action.  His  growth  depends  upon  their  use  and 
exercise.  The  story  of  the  developing  curriculum  is  seen,  there- 
fore, to  be  the  story  of  the  attempts  to  meet  and  utilize  these 
deep-lying  urges  to  expression  and  creative  effort. 

At  the  start,  there  was  no  previous  school  experience  which 
had  attempted  to  meet  the  psychological  conditions  of  learn- 
ing implied  in  the  concept  of  the  organic  circuit.  Only  a  few 
theoretical  principles  had  been  formulated  by  Mr.  Dewey 
which  were  privately  printed  during  the  fall  of  1895.  Nor  were 
there  any  precedents  as  to  a  plan  for  school  organization.  The 
experience  of  the  first  six  months,  therefore,  was  largely  re- 


4s>  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

vealing  of  what  not  to  do.  Aims,  plans,  and  methods  were,  ac- 
cordingly, reconsidered,  at  its  close,  and  on  the  basis  of  its  suc- 
cesses and  particularly  of  its  failures,  many  revisions  were  made 
in  the  school's  curriculum,  its  organization,  and  administra- 
tion. The  school's  original  purpose  still  held,  namely,  to  give 
each  child  the  opportunity  and  method  for  doing  those  things 
he  really  wanted  to  do  and  such  guidance  in  the  process  that 
his  concept  of  their  social  meaning  continually  developed. 

TYPE   OF   TEACHER 

With  the  growing  realization  that  the  developing  program 
of  the  school  was  a  program  of  related  activities,  the  concep- 
tion of  the  requirements  of  the  teacher  in  charge  of  these  ac- 
tivities, her  abilities,  natural  aptitudes,  and  training,  likewise 
took  on  a  different  aspect.  The  need  of  specialists  whose  back- 
grounds and  training  had  fitted  them  for  teaching  certain  sub- 
jects became  apparent.  Accordingly,  from  the  beginning,  in  the 
building  of  such  a  staff,  a  specialist  in  science  was  included  as 
a  member  of  the  teaching  force. 

ORGANIZATION   OF   CURRICULUM   THROUGH  ACTIVITIES 

The  addition  of  elementary  nature  study  or  science,  of  litera- 
ture and  history,  to  the  three  R's  of  the  old  curriculum,  to- 
gether with  the  multiplication  of  the  means  of  expression  (the 
so-called  special  studies,  music,  drawing,  coloring,  modeling) 
has  disturbed  the  unity  and  balance  of  traditional  primary  edu- 
cation in  many  school  systems.  The  result  has  been  a  confused 
and  distracted  child.  To  any  one  in  intimate  contact  with 
young  children,  the  glaring  lack  of  continuity  in  most  school 
programs,  even  in  many  of  the  better  progressive  types,  seems 
quite  beyond  belief.  The  continuity  that  the  word  growth 
implies  seems  something  apart  from  many  teachers'  conception 
of  the  nature  of  school  activity.  In  many  advanced  private  as 
well  as  public  schools  the  young  child's  day  is  still  compart- 
mented  into  tiny  cubicles  of  time  without  sufficient  care  for 
either  social  or  intellectual  relations.  The  pressing  problem 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    43 

then,  even  as  now,  became  how  to  utilize  all  these  subjects  and 
means  of  expression  in  an  educative  way,  how  to  organize  them 
about  a  common  center,  give  them  a  thread  of  continuity,  and 
make  each  reinforce  the  others. 

A  common  center  was  found  for  the  Laboratory  School  in 
the  idea  of  the  school-house  as  a  home  in  which  the  activities 
of  social  or  community  life  were  carried  on.  The  ideal  was  so 
to  use  and  guide  the  child's  interest  in  his  home,  his  natural 
environment,  and  in  himself  that  he  should  gain  social  and 
scientifically  sound  notions  of  the  functions  of  persons  in  the 
home;  of  plant  and  animal,  including  human  life,  and  their 
interdependence;  of  the  sun  as  the  source  of  all  energy;  of 
heat  as  a  special  form  of  energy  used  in  the  home  (as  in  cook- 
ing); and  of  food  as  stored  energy.  The  materials  about  him 
and  the  things  that  were  being  done  to  and  with  them  fur- 
nished the  ideas  for  the  initial  start  and  choice  of  the  activities 
which  occupied  the  children  in  the  shop,  laboratory,  kitchen, 
and  studios.  These  ideas  were  chosen  for  study  not  alone  be- 
cause of  their  direct,  clear,  and  explicit  relationship  to  the 
child's  own  present  environment  and  experience,  but  also  be- 
cause of  their  indirect,  veiled,  and  implied  relationship  to  the 
past  out  of  which  present  conditions  have  developed  and  to 
the  future  which  is  dependent  upon  the  present.  They  started 
the  child  in  his  present,  interested  him  to  relive  the  past,  and 
in  due  time  carried  him  on  to  future  possibilities  and  achieve- 
ments in  an  ever  developing  experience.  In  brief,  they  fur- 
nished a  thread  of  continuity  because  they  were  concerned  with 
the  fundamental  requisites  of  living. 

From  the  teacher's  standpoint,  the  development  of  these 
ideas  afforded  occasions  and  opportunities  for  the  enrichment 
and  extension  of  the  child's  experience  in  connection  with  his 
activities.  The  reconstructed  story  of  the  building  of  the  homes 
of  the  primitive  peoples,  as  the  youngest  group  imagined  and 
reenacted  it,  took  on  a  character  as  real  in  historical  quality 
as  the  authentic  accounts  of  the  homes  of  the  ancient  Greeks— 
the  history  learned  by  older  groups.  New  words  and  short 
sentences,  both  read  and  written,  added  themselves  easily  to 
the  vocabularies  of  the  youngest  children,  while  literature 


44  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

embodying  beauty  of  the  written  word  was  given  to  them  in 
myth  and  story  that  had  to  do  with  the  activities  they  were 
carrying  on.  From  the  teacher's  point  of  view,  the  child  was 
learning  art  as  he  drew,  daubed,  or  modeled  the  idea  that  urged 
him  to  expression.  He,  however,  unconscious  that  he  was  learn- 
ing anything,  expressed  in  line  or  color,  clay,  wood,  or  softer 
fabric,  the  thing  that  in  him  lay  and  in  so  doing,  no  matter  how 
crude  the  result,  tasted  of  those  deep  satisfactions  that  attend 
all  creative  effort.  Little  did  the  experimenting  child  realize 
that  he  was  studying  physics  as  he  boiled  down  his  cane  or 
maple  syrup,  watched  the  crystallization  process,  the  effects  of 
heat  on  water,  and  of  both  on  the  various  grains  used  for  food. 
He  reinvented  Ab's  trap  for  the  sabre-toothed  tiger,  quite 
oblivious  that  he  was  rediscovering  the  use  of  a  certain  kind 
of  lever.  The  teacher  knew,  although  he  did  not,  that  he  was 
studying  the  chemistry  of  combustion  as  he  figured  out  why 
fire  burned,  or  weighed,  burned,  and  weighed  again  the  ashes 
from  the  different  woods  or  coal  and  compared  results.  The 
coal  in  the  bins  in  the  cellar  was  traced  to  the  mines  and  the 
fossil  plants.  The  coal  beds  were  located  as  were  all  the  prod- 
ucts used  in  the  activities.  From  the  teacher's  standpoint,  this 
was  geology  and  geography,  or  biology  as  the  children  ex- 
amined the  seeds,  their  distribution,  and  use  as  food,  or  the 
life  of  the  birds  and  animals  in  the  open  fields.  From  the  child's 
standpoint,  however,  these  ideas  were  interesting  facts  or  skills 
that  he  learned  as  he  went  about  his  various  occupations;  they 
were  reflected,  as  it  were,  in  the  series  of  activities  through 
which  he  passed  in  becoming  conscious  of  the  basis  of  social 
life. 

In  their  constructive  work  the  younger  groups  made  their 
own  jute-board  pencil  boxes,  their  book  covers,  and  other  arti- 
cles needed  in  the  school  life.  They  selected  the  material  for, 
measured,  cut,  and  basted  the  dish  towels  for  their  laboratory 
kitchen.  As  they  relived  imaginatively  the  life  and  occupations 
of  primitive  man  and  reconstructed  his  environment  and  needs, 
they  built  into  sand  or  clay  or  stone  their  ideas  of  the  types  of 
shelter  used  at  this  stage  of  life.  They  rediscovered  the  best 
kind  of  stone  for  making  the  weapons  that  he  needed  for  pro- 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    45 

tection  from  the  wild  animals  or  the  best  kind  of  clay  for  many 
uses  in  the  way  of  utensils.  As  a  by-product,  they  learned  many 
geological  facts,  the  source  of  the  clay  from  the  silt  of  rivers, 
the  different  kinds  of  stone,  and  the  reasons  for  their  dif- 
ferences. 

In  the  laboratory,  the  child  experimenter  boiled  water,  col- 
lected steam,  tried  to  "keep  it  in,"  and  discovered  its  power 
as  well  as  its  heat.  Under  the  same  careful  guidance,  he  planted 
corn  in  cotton  and  in  soil;  he  kept  it  in  the  dark  or  in  the  light, 
in  air  and  in  a  vacuum,  weighing  or  measuring  before  and 
after,  and  learning  what  changes,  if  any,  had  been  brought 
about  by  the  growing  plants.  In  the  kitchen,  also  a  laboratory, 
he  husked,  shelled,  pounded,  ground  (for  this  he  had  made  a 
mill  in  the  shop),  parched,  soaked,  and  cooked  corn  which 
he  had  obtained  from  an  interested  farmer,  when  on  a  visit  to 
his  farm.  The  weighing  and  measuring  were  on  scales,  in  meas- 
ures, or  with  thermometers  made  by  the  children  themselves. 
For  the  simple  reason  that  they  could  not  weigh  or  measure 
and  thus  carry  on  something  which  claimed  both  their  interest 
and  effort  without  knowledge  of  and  skill  in  the  use  of  the 
symbols  of  weight  and  measurement,  they  learned  the  value  of 
numbers,  quite  unaware  that  they  were  studying  mathematics. 
Pints  and  pounds,  halves,  quarters,  thirds  became  familiar  de- 
vices to  attain  desired  ends.  The  study  of  social  life  furnished 
the  thread  of  continuity,  linking  all  these  modes  of  experi- 
ence—whether constructive  or  experimental.  It  had  a  direct 
aspect  as  revealed  in  the  physical  and  social  environment  of  the 
present  or  an  indirect  as  in  history  and  literature. 

The  following  is  a  necessarily  brief  sketch  of  the  school's 
first  two  years  of  rapid  growth  and  experimentation.  There 
were  many  trials  of  different  types  of  subject-matter  with  dif- 
ferent groups  of  children  which  were  discarded  as  not  suitable 
either  because  of  the  character  and  training  of  the  teacher, 
and  the  background  of  the  children,  or  because  the  materials 
and  equipment  necessary  were  not  available.  With  the  younger 
groups,  the  meaning  of  the  home  was  developed  in  detail. 
When  very  young,  the  child  was  led  to  consciousness  that  it 
was  the  center  and  source  of  all  things  necessary  to  his  well- 


46  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

being.  In  it  he  found  food,  shelter,  and  comfort,  all  of  which 
came  through  the  agency  of  various  persons— his  mother,  his  fa- 
ther, the  milkman,  the  grocery  boy,  and  others. 

He  learned  that  he  and  his  home  were  dependent  upon  life 
without,  particularly  the  life  of  the  farm.  A  model  farm  was 
built  in  a  large  sand  pan,  and  the  study  extended  itself  to  what 
constitutes  a  typical  farm  locality— the  kind  of  land  for  pasture, 
for  meadow,  or  for  the  grain  fields.  The  process  was,  of  neces- 
sity, one  of  constant  sharing  by  all.  The  practical  methods  of 
communication,  the  use  of  language,  of  reading,  of  writing,  of 
measuring,  took  on  importance  in  the  eyes  of  the  children  and 
were  thus  naturally  included  in  their  daily  program.  The 
seasonal  changes  as  exhibited  in  the  relation  of  sun  and  earth, 
the  vegetables  and  animal  life,  and  the  occupations  of  human 
life  were,  of  course,  constantly  emphasized.3 

The  plan  of  the  year's  work  was  to  make  the  study  of  social 
life  the  center  of  attention  and  to  follow  its  development,  in 
part  at  least,  from  its  earliest  beginnings  through  the  barbaric 
stage  to  the  opening  of  authentic  history.  Starting  with  the 
most  primitive  ways  of  living,  it  took  up  the  beginnings  and 
growth  of  industry  through  discovery  and  invention  and  their 
effect  on  social  life. 

The  finding  of  metals  was  developed  differently  each  year. 
Each  group  discovered  the  various  ores,  worked  out  in  their 
own  way  their  smelting  process  and  the  way  in  which  such 
discoveries  reacted  upon  the  lives  of  those  concerned.  Usually 
the  discovery  of  iron  was  taken  up  in  great  detail.  Much  dis- 
cussion disclosed  the  many  uses  for  this  metal  and  the  fact  of 
its  frequent  occurrence  in  many  localities.  The  construction 
of  miniature  smelting  places  introduced  the  problems  of  air 
supply  and  fuel  in  small  bulk  and  the  difficulty  of  right  appli- 
cation of  heat.  Other  incidental  problems  were  met  and  solved. 
The  kindling  point  of  different  materials,  which  the  children 
burned  in  small  smelting  places,  was  discovered.  The  latter 
were  of  necessity  tiny  kilns  rather  than  the  large  pit  smelting 
places  of  the  early  metal  industry.  As  they  worked,  the  chil- 

« "School  Record,  Noles,  and  Plan  XXI.  The  University  of  Chicago 
School,"  University  Record,  April  21,  1897. 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    47 

dren  thought  out  the  effect  this  new  industry  would  have  upon 
the  social  life  of  people,  as  requiring  a  division  of  labor,  and 
attempted  to  carry  out  such  an  organization  in  their  own  ef- 
forts to  work  together  on  a  single  smelting  place,  under  the 
leadership  of  one  person.  Great  emphasis  was  laid  upon  the 
development  of  the  metal  industry.  It  was  a  dramatic  picture 
of  the  effect  upon  civilization  of  invention  and  discovery  which 
resulted  in  control  of  the  material  which  is  basic  to  all  other 
industries.  The  organization  on  the  social  side  necessary  for 
its  production  gave  the  children  a  picture  of  the  beginnings 
of  our  industrial  society.4  The  subject  of  the  governmental  de- 
velopment, which  had  entered  incidentally  into  previous  dis- 
cussions, was  now  taken  up  as  a  subject  by  itself.  The  methods 
of  transportation,  necessitated  by  the  beginning  of  commerce, 
and  the  barter  of  the  new  iron  weapons,  carried  on  by  the 
more  advanced  tribes,  were  also  discussed.5 

In  their  study  of  social  life,  the  older  children  of  Groups 
V  and  VI  (eight  to  ten  years  old)  passed  through  the  phases 
of  primitive  living  more  quickly  than  the  younger  groups 
and  soon  came  to  the  period  when  man  had  settled  into  perma- 
nent homes.  The  life  of  the  early  Greek  peoples  was  chosen 
as  forming  the  easiest  transition  from  the  imagined  records 
of  primitive  lives  to  the  records  of  authentic  history.  Again 
there  were  no  precedents  to  follow,  and  the  question  arose  as 
to  how  to  present  history  subject-matter  to  young  children. 
What  would  be  a  good  starting  point?  Again  the  guiding  prin- 
ciple answered— it  must  be  something  closely  related  to  their 
own  life  and  therefore  of  interest  to  them.  Experiment  only 
could  tell  whether  this  interest  lay  in  the  manner  of  living, 
the  social  and  political  institutions,  commerce,  art,  literature, 
religion,  or  thought.  It  was  a  serious  problem  to  select  from 


4  Little  time  was  given  to  the  Bronze  Age,  as  but  a  limited  portion  of 
mankind  passed  through  this  stage.  This  was  found  to  be  a  mistake.  The 
greater  fusibility  of  copper  and  tin,  together  with  the  fact  that  they  are 
found  in  a  native  state  (thus  making  the  processes  simpler)  would  have 
made  a  more  natural  approach  to  the  greater  step  of  the  discovery  and 
use  of  iron. 

s  "Report  of  the  University  Elementary  School,"  University  Record, 
February  n,  1898. 


48  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

all  the  wealth  of  collected  knowledge  that  which  should  prove 
of  most  value  for  the  child. 

A  beginning  was  made  with  social  life  of  the  early  Greeks. 
Their  social  groupings  were  studied  and  questions  asked.  How 
did  these  come  to  be,  and  what  were  the  relations  of  these  so- 
cial groups  to  each  other?  An  attempt  was  made  to  trace  the 
activities  of  the  Greeks  and  to  study  their  methods  of  war- 
fare, commerce,  and  political  and  domestic  life.  This  led  to  a 
study  of  their  fortifications,  their  weapons,  and  war  chariots, 
their  ships  and  methods  of  navigation,  their  forms  of  govern- 
ment, and  governing  officers,  the  making  and  execution  of  their 
laws,  their  homes,  schools,  farms,  and  cities.  This  study  of 
institutions  proved  very  interesting,  but  not  entirely  satis- 
factory. Full  interest  was  lacking.  The  difficulty  seemed  to  be 
that  all  these  things  persisted  in  remaining  objective  and  far 
away  from  the  children  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  they  had  once 
had  to  do  with  the  reality  of  living.  The  work  was  too  abstract 
and  detailed  for  this  age  of  development,  too  formal  and  too 
remote  from  present  personal  interest.  The  dynamic  quality 
was  lacking,  that  which  made  life  moving  and  vital.  It  did 
not  furnish  images  enough.  What  was  to  be  done? 

Again,  the  recent  past  experience  seems  to  have  been  scru- 
tinized for  a  suggestion  of  the  next  best  step.  These  children 
were  already  thoroughly  familiar  with  the  myths  of  Greece  so 
these  did  not  seem  to  demand  further  attention.  The  line  of 
approach  lay  somewhere  between  the  myth-tale  and  such  a 
study  of  Greek  life  as  already  had  been  attempted.  This  was 
finally  found  in  what  might  be  called  a  study  of  Greek  char- 
acters. The  myth  and  the  organization  of  a  Greek  home  were 
left  almost  wholly  out  of  account,  and  a  study  was  made  of 
the  great  men  of  Greece,  for  in  their  deeds,  shared  by  the  whole 
nation,  the  common  life  of  Greece  found  its  best  and  most 
complete  expression. 

Interest  in  individuals  is  strong  in  children  of  this  age.  It  is 
the  period  when  they  revel  most  in  their  own  newly  discovered 
individuality.  Early  peoples  have  the  same  experience.  Their 
history  is  the  history  of  heroes,  and  it  is  not  less  history  be- 
cause it  takes  the  form  of  biography  in  which  the  emotional 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    49 

life  of  a  whole  people  is  expressed,  so  clearly  and  concisely 
that  it  is  readily  grasped  by  the  child. 

The  children  gleaned  much  of  the  material  for  this  study 
themselves,  did  almost  all  of  their  own  reading,  and  repro- 
duced on  paper  many  of  the  tales  of  the  Iliad,  the  Odyssey, 
Herodotus,  and  Plutarch.  The  events  and  persons  involved 
were  never  to  them  mere  historical  happenings  of  a  long  time 
ago  or  characters  who  were  dead  and  gone.  They  were  living 
men  and  women  anxious  to  do  certain  things  to  and  with 
other  men  and  women.  As  the  study  progressed,  there  was  a 
gradual  passage  from  the  concern  of  a  single  hero  to  those  -of 
a  people  who  desire  a  common  end  and,  therefore,  act  co- 
operatively. The  gradual  growth  of  people  led  by  inspired  in- 
dividuals to  the  common  aims  and  united  efforts  of  a  corporate 
group  is  richly  illustrated  by  Greek  development  and  formed 
a  basis  of  transition  to  the  story  of  the  organization  and  ad- 
ministration of  the  corporate  life  of  the  Roman  people. 

A  study  of  the  social  life  of  the  Romans  had  already  been 
attempted  with  a  younger  Group  (ten  years),  but  here  again 
experience  proved  the  children  were  too  immature  to  ap- 
preciate enough  of  the  definite  contribution  made  by  this 
civilization  to  make  the  study  worth  their  while.  On  the  back- 
ground, however,  of  their  study  of  the  development  of  the 
Greek  community  life,  it  was  hoped  that  these  older  children 
might  become  familiar  with  the  trend  of  historical  events  and 
gain  pictures  of  the  social  life  of  the  times  and  the  political 
evolution  of  a  state.  On  the  whole,  however,  this  second  ex- 
periment also  was  not  wholly  a  success  and  did  not  warrant 
another  trial  with  children  of  this  age.  The  study  of  the  Roman 
state  was  finally  developed  more  satisfactorily  in  the  later 
years  with  older  children.6 

For  all  groups  during  these  two  years  the  science  work  was 
a  study  of  the  plant  as  something  which  does  work.7  Attention 
was  first  directed  accordingly  to  the  active  functions,  such  as 


e  Group  IX  (thirteen  to  fourteen  years),  Teacher,  E.  C.  Moore,  Uni- 
versity Record,  December  16,  1898. 

7  Course  outlined  by  John  M.  Coulter,  and  under  direction  of  Katherine 
Andrews. 


5o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

breathing  and  circulation,  and  the  analysis  of  structure  was 
made  simply  to  locate  the  parts  which  do  the  work.  The 
younger  children,  as  compared  with  the  older,  showed  a  much 
keener  interest  in  this  observational  work  and  preferred  it  to 
the  experimental.  Their  drawings  and  records  evidenced  more 
freedom  and  less  formality  in  their  habits  of  noticing  and  re- 
cording. The  older  children  studied  the  adaptation  of  plants 
to  their  environment.  This  included  the  different  species 
found  in  different  soils,  and  at  different  elevations,  and 
brought  out  the  relation  of  moisture  to  plant  growth.  A  vacant 
lot  was  selected;  the  character  of  the  soil  in  the  high  and  in 
the  low  places  was  studied;  and  the  different  plants  native  to 
each  environment  and  their  groupings  were  noted. 

With  children  of  nine  and  ten  years,  the  science  included 
also  a  study  of  electricity  as  they  saw  it  in  everyday  use.8  The 
electric  battery  or  cell  was  used  as  a  starting  point,  and  the 
climax  of  their  first  investigations  in  this  field  was  the  installa- 
tion of  an  electric  bell  in  the  school-room.  Simple  experiments 
led  as  steps  up  to  the  understanding  of  the  electric  bell  and 
later  of  the  telegraph  and  telephone. 

The  work  in  cooking  with  the  older  groups  was  also  largely 
experimental  in  character.  The  making  of  jelly  from  cran- 
berries and  apples  gave  occasion  for  emphasizing  or  introduc- 
ing many  physical  processes,  such  as  the  effect  of  boiling  water 
in  disintegrating  solid  matter  and  in  hastening  the  process  of 
evaporation.  These  were  demonstrated  by  experiment.  The 
change  of  water  into  steam  and  back  again  into  water,  through 
the  condensation  process,  was  noted  and  voluntarily  related  to 
observation  of  the  same  process  elsewhere.  The  effect  of  heat 
and  cold  upon  the  density  of  the  material  was  brought  out 
when  the  class  saw  that  the  hot  liquid  strained  mucli  more 
•easily  than  the  cold,  and  that  the  juice  grew  solid  much  faster 
when  placed  out  of  doors.  A  number  of  children  began  at 
this  time  to  relate  processes  noted  in  cooking  to  similar  proc* 


s  The  time  spent  was  three  to  four  hours  weekly  for  ten  weeks.  The 
children  worked  individually,  the  discussion  and  a  few  of  the  more  com- 
plicated experiments  being  conducted  by  the  group  as  a  whole.  Course 
was  first  given  by  Katherine  Camp. 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    51 

esses  in  nature.  The  resemblance  of  thick  boiling  liquids  to 
geysers  and  volcanoes  was  noticed,  and  generalizations  were 
made  about  the  expansive  tendency  of  heat  and  the  fact  that 
steam  demands  more  space  than  the  water  from  which  it  was 
formed. 

The  custom  of  a  weekly  luncheon  worked  well  for  the 
older  groups  also  in  expressing  and  developing  a  social  spirit. 
The  work  of  getting  lunch  was  variously  distributed  among 
the  different  children.  Some  calculated  and  measured  the 
amount  of  cocoa  needed,  others  measured  and  weighed  hominy 
and  water.  Others  set  the  table,  while  two  wrote  stories  to 
read  for  the  entertainment  of  the  others.  On  a  special  oc- 
casion the  ten-year-old  group  prepared  a  luncheon  for  twenty- 
two  people.  The  meal  consisted  of  bean  soup  and  cocoa,  and 
the  children  themselves  bought  the  milk,  bread,  and  butter 
needed.  In  the  meantime,  some  of  Group  IV  (nine  years) 
set  the  tables  and  some  wrote  stories  to  be  read  at  table 
for  the  entertainment  of  Group  V  (ten  years).  Among  these 
stories  were  Robin  Hood,  Sun  and  the  North  Wind,  Puss  in 
Boots,  Apollo  and  the  Python,  and  others  on  original  themes. 

Opportunity  was  constantly  given  for  expression  in  various 
mediums.  By  means  of  crayon,  pencil,  color,  and  scissors,  as 
well  as  through  the  spoken  and  written  word,  the  children 
were  encouraged  to  record  the  memories  of  a  walk,  the  apples 
they  had  gathered,  the  story  they  had  heard,  or  the  process 
they  had  imagined  or  carried  through.  One  of  these  younger 
groups  attempted  graphically  to  represent  the  evolution  of 
the  house,  from  the  earth  lodge  and  cave  to  the  Greek  temple. 
The  time  given  to  the  constructive  work  in  shop,  to  the  de- 
velopment of  design  and  the  decorative  arts  in  laboratory  or 
studio,  to  the  writing  of  records,  the  related  number  work, 
or  the  reading  and  language  drill  in  both  English  and  French 
was  so  interwoven  and  incidental  to  the  activities  carried  on 
in  the  study  of  social  life,  scientific  observations,  and  experi- 
ments as  to  make  it  impossible  to  differentiate  or  calculate  at 
all  the  amount  given  to  each  of  these  subjects. 

The  physical  health  of  the  children  was  constantly  con- 
sidered. Until  the  spring  of  1897,  the  work  of  this  department 


5s>  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  carried  on  at  the  University.  Later,  a  large  hall  in  the 
school  was  equipped  and  used  for  plays  and  games  of  the 
younger  children,  the  rhythmic  drills  with  wands  and  dumb- 
bells, and  the  apparatus  work  or  basket  ball  of  the  older  groups. 
There  was  constant  supervision  of  individual  children  and 
their  special  needs. 

In  addition  to  its  relation  to  the  grace  and  rhythm  of  bodily 
movement  music  was  also  always  included  as  a  course  of 
study  for  all  groups.  This  study  was  in  accord  with  the  methods 
of  Calvin  B.  Cady.  Its  purpose  was  to  develop  the  musical  in- 
telligence of  the  pupils  by  aiding  them  to  form  and  express 
complete  mental  images  of  music.  Music  is  idea  expressed  in 
tone,  and  a  simple  melodic  phrase  is  intellectually  and  musi- 
cally a  complete  idea  which  must  be  grasped  and  gradually 
unfolded  by  the  child  into  its  essential  elements  o£  melody, 
rhythm  and  harmony. 

This  curriculum  pertains  to  the  School  from  1896  to  1898 
and  represents  what  has  been  referred  to  as  the  "early  period 
of  the  developing  curriculum."  In  this  experimental  school, 
the  concern  was  to  discover  not  alone  what  subject-matter 
suited  each  stage  of  developing  child  life,  but  also  to  see  what 
could  be  done  with  materials  and  activities  never  before  used 
in  classes  of  small  children.  The  use  of  these  spontaneous  ac- 
tivities in  the  classroom  necessitated  great  freedom  for  change, 
for  omission,  or  for  repetition  later  found  necessary.  As  a 
result,  the  school  program  was  always  more  or  less  tentative 
in  character,  and  shifts  in  it  were  frequently  made.  Certain 
subjects  were  found  excellent  lor  use  at  this  or  that  age  or 
with  this  or  that  group  or  teacher.  Others  proved  unsuitable. 
There  was  a  continual  change  and  revision  of  both  subject- 
matter  and  method  on  the  basis  of  experience  and  in  accord 
with  the  tastes  and  training  of  the  teacher  and  the  resources 
of  the  environment  and  equipment. 

STAGES  IN   CHILD  GROWTH 

The  practical  experience  of  the  School  so  far  had  demon- 
strated  that  there  were  certain  stages  in  child  growth.  These 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    53 

were  never  sharply  defined,  but  merged  into  and  overlapped  one 
another.  Certain  needs  and  abilities  characteristic  of  these 
stages  were  recognized,  and  a  beginning  had  been  made  in 
selecting  activities  and  skills  appropriate  to  those  needs  and 
abilities.  Experiment  had  proven  that  those  studies  which  had 
been  of  fundamental  value  to  the  child's  expression  had  also 
enlarged  his  mental  horizons  and  carried  him  on  into  deeper 
living.  As  the  result  of  such  a  critical  interpretation  of  the 
practices  of  the  School  from  the  point  of  view  of  both  the 
teacher  and  the  learner,  a  clearly  defined  principle  of  mental 
growth  emerged  which  was  of  primary  importance  in  under- 
standing the  needs  of  the  growing  child  and  in  planning  a 
program  which  should  answer  to  those  needs. 

The  statement  made  by  Mr.  Dewey  of  this  principle  of  the 
psychological  order  of  development  is  the  basis  of  the  subse- 
quent organization  and  administration  of  the  School,  both  as 
to  the  more  permanent  groupings  of  the  children  and  the 
choice  of  its  subject-matter  and  method.9 

In  the  organization  of  the  Elementary  School,  three  stages  or 
periods  are  recognized.  These,  however,  pass  into  one  another  so 
gradually  that  the  children  are  not  made  conscious  of  the  changes. 
The  first  extends  from  the  age  of  four  to  eight  or  eight  and  a  half 
years.  In  this  period  the  connection  of  the  school  life  with  that  of 
the  home  and  neighborhood  is,  of  course,  especially  intimate.  The 
children  are  largely  occupied  with  direct  social  and  outgoing  modes 
of  action/  with  doing  and  telling.  There  is  relatively  little  attempt 
made  at  intellectual  formulation,  conscious  reflection,  or  command 
of  technical  methods.  As,  however,  there  is  continual  growth  in  the 
complexity  of  work  and  in  the  responsibilities  which  the  children  are 
capable  of  assuming,  distinct  problems  gradually  emerge  in  such  a 
way  that  the  mastery  of  special  methods  is  necessary. 

Hence  in  the  second  period  (from  eight  to  ten),  emphasis  is  put 
upon  securing  ability  to  read,  write,  handle,  number,  etc.,  not  in 
themselves,  but  as  necessary  helps  and  adjuncts  in  relation  to  the 
more  direct  modes  of  experience.  Also  in  the  various  forms  of  hand- 
work and  of  science,  more  and  more  conscious  attention  is  paid  to 
the  proper  ways  of  doing  things,  methods  of  reaching  results,  as 
distinct  from  the  simple  doing  itself.  This  is  the  special  period  for 
securing  knowledge  of  the  rules  and  technique  of  work. 

9  "The  University  Elementary  School,  General  Outline  of  Scheme  of 
Work,"  University  Record,  December  30,  1898. 


54  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

In  the  third  period,  lasting  until  the  thirteenth  year,  the  skill  thus 
acquired  is  utilized  in  application  to  definite  problems  of  investiga- 
tion and  reflection,  leading  on  to  recognition  of  the  significance  and 
necessity  of  generalizations.  When  this  latter  point  is  reached,  the 
period  of  distinctly  secondary  education  may  be  said  to  have  begun. 
This  third  period  is  also  that  of  the  distinctive  differentiation  of  the 
various  lines  of  work,  history  and  science,  the  various  forms  of 
science,  etc.  from  one  another.  So  far  as  the  methods  and  tools  em- 
ployed in  each  have  been  mastered,  so  far  is  the  child  able  to  take 
up  the  pursuit  each  by  itself,  making  it,  in  some  sense,  really  a  study. 
If  the  first  period  has  given  the  child  a  common  and  varied  back- 
ground, if  the  second  has  introduced  him  to  control  of  reading, 
writing,  numbering,  manipulating  materials,  etc.,  as  instruments  of 
inquiry,  he  is  now  ready  in  the  third  for  a  certain  amount  of  speciali- 
zation without  danger  of  isolation  or  artificiality. 


The  picture  of  the  first  two  years  of  this  experiment  in  edu- 
cation is  somewhat  blurred,  for  it  was  a  period  of  quest,  a  try- 
ing out  first  of  this  trail,  then  of  that.  Many  of  these  trails 
were  blind;  failure  was  as  frequent  as  success;  but  out  of  the 
seeming  confusion  grew  a  skeleton  pattern  for  the  courses  and 
method  of  the  later  years.  Out  of  it  also  came  a  clearer  under- 
standing of  the  child  mind,  its  functioning,  its  changing  powers 
and  interests.  Out  of  it  grew  a  clearer  picture  of  education  as 
beginning,  continuing  and  ending  with  life—a  unified  and 
rhythmic  experience  out  of  which  is  born  and  nourished  day 
by  day  the  individual  life  of  the  spirit  which  is  die  child,  the 
person. 

Subsequent  experience  revised  the  early  statement  of  the 
psychological  order  of  development  after  the  eleventh  year. 
The  School's  experience  with  the  third  stage  of  growth  and 
the  beginnings  of  the  secondary  period  was  not  long  enough 
to  warrant  much  positive  information  after  the  thirteenth 
year.10  The  growth  stages  are  covered  by  the  chapters  in  this 
volume  as  follows: 


10  The  age  of  the  children  in  any  group  may  be  found  by  adding  three 
to  the  number  of  the  group,  for  example:  Group  I—age  4  years;  Group 
II— age  5  years,  etc. 


PRACTICES  DEVELOPING  CURRICULUM    55 

THE  FIRST  STAGE  OF  GROWTH 

Chapter       IV.— Groups  I  and  II    (4-5  years) 

Chapter        V.— Group  III  (6  years) 

TRANSITION  STAGE 

Chapter       VI.— Group  IV  (7  years) 

Chapter     VII.— Group  V  (8  years) 

SECOND  STAGE  OF  GROWTH 

Chapter  VIII.— Group  VI  (9  years) 

Chapter      IX.— Group  VII  (10  years) 

TRANSITION  STAGE 

Chapter        X.— Group  VIII  (11  years) 

Chapter      XI,— Group  IX  (12  years) 

THIRD  STAGE  OF  GROWTH  AND  BEGINNING  OF  SECONDARY  PERIOD 

Chapter    XII.— Group  X  (13  years) 

Chapter  XIII.— Group  XI  (*4-i5  years) 


CHAPTER   IV 

HOUSEHOLD     OCCUPATIONS 

GROUPS  i  AND  ii  (AGES  FOUR  AND  FIVE) 

IE  setting  for  the  youngest  children  of  the  school  was  not 
ideal  from  the  point  of  view  of  convenience,  modern  equip- 
ment, or  exposure.  It  was,  however,  sufficiently  like  the  chil- 
dren's own  homes  to  give  a  sense  of  familiarity  to  their  first 
away-from-home  experience.  The  home  of  the  school,  a  large 
dwelling-house  on  Ellis  Avenue,  faced  east.  It  had  a  wide 
angled,  covered  porch,  but  the  large  living-room,  most  suitable 
for  a  kindergarten  room  in  other  respects,  lay  on  the  northern 
side  of  the  house.  This  very  fact  was  turned  to  an  advantage 
for  it  made  the  teacher  more  alert  to  the  need  of  many  out- 
door excursions  for  play  on  the  porch  or  in  the  yard,  trips 
to  the  park  and  its  great  gardens,  to  the  Museum,  or  just  on 
walks  that  were  filled  with  talk  of  the  children's  own  observa- 
tions. The  room  had  great  eastern  windows  and  a  fireplace. 
Owing  to  lack  of  funds,  it  was  rather  sparsely  furnished  aside 
from  the  tables  and  chairs  necessary  for  work  and  the  daily 
luncheon.  The  very  bareness  of  the  room,  however,  seemed  to 
please  the  children,  for  it  gave  them  the  freedom  for  their 
plays  and  games  often  lacking  in  their  home  environment.  At 
its  rear  was  the  old  library  of  the  house.  Some  of  the  shelves  in 
this  large  room  were  kept  for  the  school  reference  books; 
others  were  adapted  for  extra  locker  space  for  the  little  chil- 
dren. By  happy  chance,  therefore,  the  dressing  and  undressing, 
the  taking  off  and  putting  on  of  overshoes,  and  all  the  daily 
activities  incident  to  the  coming  in  and  going  out  of  little 
children,  so  important  to  their  gradual  development  of  con- 
trol and  independence,  were  carried  on  in  their  own  quarters. 

56 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  57 

Such  were  the  quarters  of  the  sub-primary  department  that 
opened  for  the  first  time  in  the  fall  of  1898  with  eight  children. 
In  January  of  the  next  year,  the  number  grew  to  twenty.  The 
children  were  divided  into  two  groups,  the  four-year-olds, 
Group  I,  and  the  five-year-olds,  Group  II.  The  number  of  boys 
and  of  girls  was  about  equal.  Daily  attendance  in  each  group 
averaged  about  nine.  Later  the  enrolment  of  the  sub-primary 
department  was  increased  to  twenty-four  in  order  to  bring  the 
average  attendance  to  ten  or  eleven.  These  children  were  not 
exceptional  save  as  they  represented  to  an  unusual  degree 
parents  of  various  professions  whose  confidence  in  the  plan 
and  its  sponsors  had  aroused  a  hope  and  a  desire  for  this  dif- 
ferent and  more  social  type  of  training  for  their  children.  The 
daily  program  was  as  follows: 

9:00-  9:30 Hand-work, 

9:00—10:00. . .  .Songs  and  stories. 

10:00-10:30 Marching  and  games  such  as  "Follow 

the  Leader"  while  the  room  was  being 
aired  and  personal  wants  cared  for. 

10:40-11:15 Luncheon. 

11:15-11:45 Dramatic  play  and  rhythms. 

This  order  was  not  a  fixed  one.  It  varied  with  the  work  the 
children  were  doing.  Sometimes  an  outdoor  excursion  to 
places  near-by  was  taken.  The  aim  was  to  have  a  period  of 
relaxation  follow  a  period  of  fixed  interest,  so  as  not  to  keep 
them  at  one  kind  of  work  too  long.  The  periods  of  hand- 
work included  constructive  work,  play  with  blocks,  drawing, 
painting,  modeling  in  clay,  work  in  the  sand,  or  any  suitable 
medium  of  expression. 

Mid-morning  luncheon  was  served  every  day.  The  children 
took  entire  charge  of  setting  the  table,  serving,  waiting  upon 
each  other,  and  of  washing  and  putting  away  the  dishes. 
The  menu  consisted  of  one  tablespoon  apiece  of  a  prepared 
cereal,  served  with  cream  and  sugar,  a  cracker  and  a  small 
glass  of  milk,  or  cocoa  on  cold  days.  This  menu  served  twenty- 
four  children  and  three  teachers  for  $5.00  a  month.  Fruit  was 
served  to  children  whose  parents  found  the  above  menu  ob- 
jectionable. 


58  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

TEACHERS'  PROBLEMS  AND  PRINCIPLES 

The  first  year  the  teacher  in  charge,1  who  had  previously 
taught  the  primary  department  of  a  public  school,  also  di- 
rected the  reading  and  writing  of  some  of  the  older  groups. 
A  year  later  she  married,  and  a  graduate  of  the  Free  Kinder- 
garten Association  of  Armour  Institute  took  over  the  direction 
of  the  groups  with  the  help  of  two  assistants.2  These  teachers 
in  charge  of  this  new  sub-primary  department  had  their  own 
problems.  In  the  light  of  a  new  but  partial  understanding  of 
the  little  child  as  a  growing  person,  both  courage  and  faith 
were  needed.  They  had  need  of  courage  to  discard  whatever 
they  had  learned  of  old  methods  and  materials  that  could  not 
be  adapted  to  the  sort  of  teaching  disclosed  by  a  new  under- 
standing of  mind  in  the  making.  They  had  need  of  faith  to 
trust  for  guidance  to  the  child's  own  selective  power  in  and 
instinctive  control  of  the  activities  induced  by  his  surround- 
ings. The  watchword  was  "continuity,"  in  order  to  avoid 
breaks  in  the  child's  experience  which  would  retard,  hamper, 
or  frustrate  the  spontaneous  expression  of  his  intellectual  life— 
his  thought  in  action. 

The  small  child  of  four,  who  with  others,  faced  the  teacher 
of  these  youngest  groups,  feels  himself  a  person,  like  other 
children  of  his  age.  He  has  long  since  passed  out  of  the  short 
period  when  instinct  and  simple  emotion  have  control.  The 
tentative  beginnings  of  his  intellectual  life  are  well  established. 
He  has  ridden  rough  shod  over  the  indulgence  and  correction 
of  his  home  guardian,  has  chosen  what  he  liked,  and  rejected 
what  he  disliked;  he  has  seen  the  way  he  would  go  and  the 
thing  he  would  do,  and  has  both  gone  that  way  and  done 
that  thing.  The  consequent  pleasurable  experience  of  these 
first  choices,  these  breaks  away  from  his  mother's  plan  and  of 
following  his  own  will-o'-the-wisp  desires,  have  given  him  a  new 
sense  of  freedom  and  of  the  power  for  independent  action. 


1  Florence  La  Victoire. 

2  Georgia  Scates,  Grace  Dolling,  Jessie  Taylor,  pupils  of  Anna  Bryan, 
head  of  Free  Kindergarten  Association  of  Armour  Institute,  who  took  an 
active  interest  in  developing  the  sub-primary  curriculum. 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  59 

He  has  tasted  the  apple  of  life  and  found  it  to  his  liking.  He 
has,  to  some  extent,  achieved  his  own  intellectual  ends,  such 
as  they  are,  and  has  formed  his  own  habit  of  judging  for  him- 
self.3 "He  has  a  method  of  thinking,  as  inevitably  his  own  as 
was  that  of  his  mother  or  that  of  any  other  caretaker  who  made 
him  see  his  own  way  by  compelling  him  to  react  against  her 
way."  The  teacher's  problem  was  to  simplify  and  clarify  this 
passing  out  from  the  small  center  of  the  narrow  and  intense 
life  of  the  family,  where  instinct  and  emotions  have  been  the 
guides  to  action,  into  the  larger  and  more  diffused  activities, 
which  demand  intellectual  control.  How  could  she  make  their 
present  living  a  continuation  of  the  old,  so  that  it  would  con- 
tinually lead  on  to  a  new  and  larger  experience? 

As  play  is  the  child's  natural  avenue  for  expression,  a  teacher 
must  consider  his  knowledge  of  the  physical  and  social  world 
about  him  with  its  materials  and  relationships.  Play  is  neither 
purely  psychical,  nor  purely  physical,  but  involves  the  expres- 
sion of  imagery  through  movement,  with  a  social  end  in  view. 
It  is  not  to  be  identified  with  anything  which  he  externally 
does.  It  rather  designates  his  mental  attitude  as  a  whole.  His 
sensations  of  color,  sound,  taste,  or  touch  all  function  in  order 
to  carry  on,  assist,  or  reinforce  this  play,  and  his  mind  naturally 
selects  material  with  reference  to  its  maintenance  and  con- 
tinuation.4 "Play  is  the  free  movement,  the  interplay,  of  all 
the  child's  powers,  thoughts,  and  physical  movements,  em- 
bodying in  a  satisfying  form  his  own  images  and  interests.  At 
this  age,  he  is  still  so  unskilled  in  action  that  he  practically 
lives  in  a  world  of  imaginative  play  which  comes  through  the 
cluster  of  suggestions,  reminiscences,  and  anticipations  that 
gather  about  the  things  he  uses.  The  more  natural  and  straight- 
forward these  are,  the  more  definite  basis  there  is  for  calling 
up  and  holding  together  all  the  allied  suggestions  which  his 
imaginative  play  really  represents.  The  simple  cooking,  dish- 
washing, dusting,  etc.,  which  the  children  do  are  no  more 


s  Alice  C.  Dewey,  "The  Place  of  the  Kindergarten,"  The  Elementary 
School  Teacher,  January,  1902. 

*  John  Dewey,  "Froebel's  Educational  Principles,"  The  Elementary  School 
Record,  June,  1900. 


60  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

prosaic  or  utilitarian  to  them  than  would  be,  say,  the  game 
of  the  Five  Knights.  To  children,  these  occupations  of  every- 
day life  are  surcharged  with  a  sense  of  the  mysterious  values 
that  attach  to  whatever  their  elders  are  concerned  with.  The 
materials,  then,  must  be  real,  as  direct  and  straightforward, 
as  opportunity  permits.  The  house  life  in  its  setting  of  house, 
furniture,  and  utensils,,  together  with  the  occupations  there 
carried  on,  offers  material  which  is  in  a  direct  and  real  rela- 
tionship to  the  child,  and  which  he  naturally  tends  to  repro- 
duce in  imaginative  form." 

The  program  was  relatively  unambitious  compared  with 
that  of  many  kindergartens,  but  it  may  be  questioned  whether 
there  are  not  certain  positive  advantages  to  be  seen  in  this 
limitation  to  activities  that  are  so  fundamental  to  human  liv- 
ing that  they  continually  lead  out  into  new  fields  and  open  up 
new  paths  for  exploration.  Each  activity,  because  of  its  in- 
timate relation  to  the  needs  of  life,  calls  for  expansion  and 
enlargement,  creates  a  demand  for  further  activity,  reveals  a 
further  need,  and  suggests  something  to  satisfy  that  need, 
brings  in  new  controls,  new  materials,  and  more  refined  modes 
of  activity.  The  little  child's  liking  for  novelty  and  variety,  his 
need  of  renewed  stimulus,  are  satisfied  and  supplied  with  no 
sacrifice  of  the  unity  of  his  experience. 

The  life  of  the  school  touched  civic  and  industrial  life  at 
many  points.  Many  concerns  were  brought  in,  when  desirable, 
without  going  beyond  the  unity  of  the  main  topic  which  helped 
to  develop  and  foster  in  the  child  a  sense  of  continuity  and 
security,  a  feeling  of  at  oneness  with  life  which  is  at  the  basis 
of  attention  and  fundamental  to  all  intellectual  growth.  From 
the  child's  standpoint,  this  unity  lay  in  the  subject-matter—in 
the  fact  that  he  was  always  dealing  with  one  thing— namely, 
home  life.  Emphasis  was  continually  passing  from  one  phase 
of  this  life  to  another;  one  occupation  after  another,  one  piece 
of  furniture  after  another,  one  relation  after  another  received 
attention.  They  all,  however,  contributed  to  one  and  the  same 
mode  of  living,  although  bringing  now  this  feature,  now  that 
into  prominence. 
Upon  the  whole,  constructive  or  "build-up"  work  (with  of 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  61 

course  the  proper  alternation  of  story,  song,  and  game  con- 
nected so  far  as  desirable  with  the  ideas  involved  in  the  con- 
struction) seemed  better  fitted  than  anything  else  to  secure 
two  lectors— initiation  in  the  child's  own  impulse,  and  termina- 
tion upon  a  higher  plane.  It  brought  the  child  into  contact 
with  a  great  variety  of  material  such  as  wood,  tin,  leather,  or 
yarn.  It  supplied  a  motive  for  using  these  materials  in  real 
ways,  instead  of  going  through  exercises  having  no  meaning 
save  a  remote  symbolic  one.  It  called  into  play  alertness  of  the 
senses  and  acuteness  of  observation.  It  demanded  dear-cut 
imagery  of  the  ends  to  be  accomplished  and  ingenuity  and  in- 
vention in  planning.  In  addition,  it  made  necessary  concen- 
trated attention  and  personal  responsibility  in  execution,  while 
the  results  were  in  such  tangible  form  that  the  child  was  led 
to  judge  his  own  work  and  improve  his  standards.5 

It  was  taken  for  granted  that  the  little  child  is  highly  imita- 
tive and  open  to  suggestions,  that  his  crude  powers  and  im- 
mature consciousness  need  to  be  continually  enriched  and 
directed  through  right  channels.  It  was  understood  that  the 
psychological  function  of  both  suggestion  and  imitation  is  to 
reinforce  and  to  help  out,  not  to  initiate.  Both  must  serve  as 
added  stimuli  to  bring  forth  more  adequately  what  the  child 
is  already  blindly  striving  to  do.  It  was  accordingly  adopted 
as  a  general  principle  that  no  activity  should  be  originated  by 
imitation.  The  start  must  come  from  the  child  through  sug- 
gestion; help  may  then  be  supplied  in  order  to  assist  him  to 
realize  more  definitely  what  it  is  he  wants.  This  help  was  not 
given  in  the  form  of  a  model  to  copy  in  action,  but  through 
the  medium  of  suggestions  to  improve  and  express  what  he  was 
doing.  The  same  principles  applied  even  more  strongly  to 

s  It  is  a  pleasure  again  to  acknowledge  our  great  indebtedness  to  Miss 
Anna  Bryan  and  her  able  staff  of  the  Free  Kindergarten  Association,  for 
numberless  suggestions  regarding  both  materials  and  objects  for  con- 
structive -work.  Our  obligations  are  also  due  to  Miss  La  Victoire  who 
inaugurated  the  sub-primary  program  in  this  school,  and  who,  coming  to 
the  kindergarten  the  previous  year  from  successful  primary  work,  was 
highly  effective  in  affiliating  the  kindergarten  to  the  spirit  of  the  best 
modern  primary  work.  In  later  years  Miss  Georgia  Scates,  Miss  Dolling, 
and  Miss  Elsie  Port  as  well  as  others  trained  by  Miss  Bryan,  all  aided  in 
developing  the  sub-primary  program  of  the  school. 


62  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

what  is  called  dictation  work.  Nothing,  however,  seemed  more 
absurd  than  to  suppose  that  there  was  no  middle  term  between 
leaving  a  child  to  his  own  unguided  fancies  and  likes  and  con- 
trolling his  activities  by  a  formal  succession  of  dictated  direc- 
tions. Neither  was  it  thought  that  the  teacher  should  not 
suggest  anything  to  the  child  until  he  has  consciously  expressed 
a  want  in  that  direction.  On  the  contrary,  it  was  believed  that 
a  sympathetic  teacher  is  quite  likely  to  know  more  clearly  than 
the  child  himself  what  his  own  instincts  are  and  mean.  Such 
a  teacher  can  discriminate  between  use  of  imitation  and  sug- 
gestion so  external  and  unreal  to  the  child  as  to  be  thoroughly 
non-psychological,  and  use  so  justified  through  organic  rela- 
tion to  the  child's  own  activities  as  to  fit  in  naturally  and  in- 
evitably as  instruments  to  help  a  child  carry  out  his  own  wishes 
and  ideals.  In  organic  relations,  images,  in  process  of  expres- 
sion, are  compelled  to  extend  and  relate  themselves  to  other 
images,  in  order  to  secure  proper  expression.  This  expansion 
or  growth  of  imagery  is  the  medium  of  realization  and  is  se- 
cured when  the  materials  of  expression  are  provided  and  the 
end  to  which  these  are  the  means,  is  recognized  by  the  child.6 
Mr.  Dewey  points  out  in  this  connection  that  the  process  of 
learning,  under  such  conditions,  conforms  to  psychological 
conditions,  in  so  far  as  it  is  indirect.  Attention  is  not  upon 
the  idea  of  learning,  but  upon  the  accomplishing  of  a  real  and 
intrinsic  purpose— the  expression  of  an  idea. 

DAILY  PROCEDURE 

The  first  days  in  school  were  spent  in  getting  acquainted.7 
Each  child  finds  out  through  talk  and  play  with  other  children 
that  they  too  have  homes  where  many  of  the  same  familiar 


«A  teacher  could  supply  the  requisite  stimuli  and  needed  materials 
for  expression.  A  suggestion  of  a  playhouse  that  came  from  seeing  objects 
that  had  already  been  made  to  furnish  one  or  from  seeing  other  children 
at  work,  was  often  quite  sufficient  definitely  to  direct  the  activities  of  a 
normal  child  of  five. 

7  Statements  in  regard  to  the  children  of  four  and  five  cover  a  period 
of  five  years,  from  1898  to  June  1903.  All  other  statements  that  cover  an 
experience  with  children  of  nine  and  ten,  embrace  a  space  of  seven  years. 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  63 

things  are  done  with  this  difference  or  that.  The  teacher  finds 
that  the  children  under  her  care  will  learn  much  from  each 
other  and  sees  in  it  both  a  help  and  a  problem.  Every  one  soon 
began  to  have  a  feeling  that  here  was  a  place  belonging  to 
him,  where  simple  ways  were  without  haste  and  pressure.  In 
his  own  home,  adults,  always  engaged  in  their  own  pursuits, 
had  hurried  him  in  his  play.  Here,  he  found  he  could  play 
as  he  wished  and  take  his  own  time,  as  long  as  he  did  not  block 
others'  play.  Here,  also,  he  could  express  freely  the  natural 
social  interest  in  other  children  normal  to  his  age.  In  one 
group  for  example,  the  children  grew  acquainted  with  each 
•other  and  their  surroundings  by  telling  of  their  summer  ex- 
periences. One  little  boy  made  an  old-fashioned  well  like  one 
on  the  farm  he  had  visited,  and  another  child  made  a  basket 
with  eggs  like  the  one  he  had  used.  They  soon  were  grouped 
or  grouped  themselves  according  to  their  favorite  plays  or 
games  or  way  of  expressing  themselves,  and  these  groups  closely 
coincided  with  the  actual  ages  of  the  children.  The  four-year- 
old  children  were  satisfied  with  mere  activity,  regardless  of 
means  and  ends.  At  first,  this  age  preferred  to  play  alone,  but 
with  skillful  management  the  climbing,  jumping,  running,  and 
rolling  were  guided  into  group  games  where  the  children 
learned  to  accommodate  themselves  to  others  and  to  express 
themselves  in  the  presence  of  others. 

SELECTION  AND   DEVELOPMENT   OF   ACTIVITIES 

During  the  early  weeks,  both  groups  took  many  walks  in  the 
parks  where  their  attention  was  directed  to  the  homes  of  the 
birds,  the  insects,  and  the  animals.  They  noticed  the  empty 
birds  nests,  brought  some  home,  and  talked  of  where  the  birds 
were  going  at  this  time  of  year  and  why.  The  gathered  autumn 
leaves  and  drew  them  with  paints  or  colored  crayons.  These 
expressions  gave  many  clues  to  individual  interests  and  talents. 
The  repeated  emphasis  on  home  experiences  loosened  tongues, 
and  the  outside  world  came  creeping  in.  Each  child's  own 
home  life  was  used  as  a  basis  to  build  talks  about  the  other 
children's  homes  and  families,  and  the  various  persons  helping 


64  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  the  occupations  of  the  household.  The  family's  dependence 
upon  the  daily  visit  of  the  milkman,  grocer,  iceman,  postman, 
and  the  occasional  visits  of  the  coalman  and  others  was  also 
discussed. 

At  this  age,  children  are  forthright  into  action,  and  an  idea 
straightway  becomes  drama.  At  first  little  or  nothing  suffices 
for  the  setting  of  the  stage.  Any  folded  piece  of  paper  is  ade- 
quate for  the  postman's  letter.  The  child's  fertile  imagination 
at  first  requires  none  of  the  props  and  aids  of  stage  setting, 
properties,  or  costume.  Very  soon,  however,  his  idea  enlarges 
and  is  translated  through  action  into  the  postman's  cap,  his 
bag,  the  mail  box,  or  the  two-wheeled  mail  cart  of  those  clays 
drawn  by  a  paper  horse.  Again  the  horizon  shifts  as  new  ideas 
rise  over  the  border  line  of  consciousness.  The  child  wants  to 
go  further  with  the  mail  man  than  the  corner  post-box.  The 
mail  man  takes  letters  from  the  box.  "Where  does  he  take 
them?  To  the  post-office!  Let's  go."  From  the  many  avenues 
along  which  a  little  child  can  journey  out  into  a  larger  world, 
the  teacher  must  help  to  choose  those  trails  that  are  not  blind, 
but  lead  into  main  thoroughfares  of  thought  and  action. 

In  the  autumn,  when  the  activities  of  the  world  of  both 
nature  and  man  are  inspired  and  influenced  by  the  need  of 
preparing  for  the  cold  days  of  winter,  the  thoughts  of  little 
children  are  easily  directed  to  the  seasonal  changes  and  the 
necessary  occupations  which  they  cause.  It  was  easy  for  the 
children  in  these  groups  to  see  the  connection  between  the 
squirrel  in  the  park,  busy  storing  nuts  in  the  hollow  tree,  and 
their  mothers  preserving  fruit  in  their  own  kitchens. 

But  the  child's  many  kinds  of  food,  articles  of  clothing,  and 
large  and  complicated  house  required  many  questions.  Many 
of  the  answers  to  the  latter  seemed  to  open  paths  into  one  main 
avenue  which  led  back  to  the  farm.  They  made  a  trip  to  a 
farm  and  saw  the  orchards,  the  harvesting  of  the  fruit,  and 
the  fields  with  their  shocks  of  corn.  This  visit  was  the  beginning 
of  many  activities,  which  varied,  of  course,  with  teacher,  chil- 
dren, and  circumstances.  Part  of  the  group  played  grocery 
store  and  sold  fruit  and  sugar  for  the  jelly-making  of  the  others. 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  65 

Some  were  clerks,  some  delivery  boys,  others  mothers,  and  some 
made  the  grocery  wagons.  The  clerks  were  given  measuring 
cups  with  which  to  measure  the  sugar  and  cranberries  and 
paper  to  wrap  the  packages  to  take  home.  This  led  under 
guidance  into  a  discussion  of  the  large  storehouse.  It  was 
considered  as  a  roomy  place  where  a  great  deal  of  fruit  could 
be  kept.  From  time  to  time  it  supplied  the  grocery  store  which 
held  only  enough  for  a  few  days.  A  wholesale  house  was  con- 
structed out  of  a  big  box.  Elevators  would  be  necessary,  a 
child  volunteered,  for  storehouses  have  so  many  floors;  and 
these  were  made  from  long  narrow  corset  boxes,  a  familiar 
wrapping  in  every  household  of  that  day. 

Early  cold  days  made  it  easy  and  natural  for  another  group 
to  decide  that  one  of  the  necessary  things  for  the  mother  to 
do  was  to  get  the  warm  clothing  ready  for  the  family.  Out 
of  this  talk  developed  a  play  of  the  dry-goods  store,  in  which 
three  classes  joined  together.  The  children  planned  to  play  and 
decided  the  parts  which  grew  in  scope  from  day  to  day.  Several 
children  were  the  mothers  coming  to  the  dry-goods  store  to 
shop.  Others  were  the  clerks  who  arranged  and  decorated 
the  windows  with  various  materials.  The  mothers  chose  those 
they  thought  most  suitable  for  warm  clothing.  All  selected 
warm  colors  and  judged  of  material  largely  by  feeling  it.  A 
table  was  taken  for  a  counter  and  on  it  were  put  scissors,  thread, 
thimbles,  and  needles— all  that  would  be  needed  for  the  making 
of  clothing.  After  buying  the  material  at  the  store,  the  mothers 
tried  to  match  it  in  thread,  in  tape,  and  different  kinds  of 
silk.  These  attempts  were  interesting  to  watch.  A  third  group 
of  children  made  street  cars  out  of  chairs  on  which  the  mothers 
could  ride  to  the  store.  One  child  was  the  conductor  and 
punched  the  tickets,  and  a  triangle  was  used  for  a  car  bell.  Or 
again,  two  of  the  children  became  horse  and  wagon  and  de- 
livered the  goods,  while  another  child  was  the  bundle  wrapper. 
They  enjoyed  the  game  so  much  that  it  was  played  all  over 
again  the  next  day. 

Still  another  group  approached  the  occupations  of  the  house- 
hold from  a  different  angle.  In  the  discussion  (and  aided  by 


66  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

suggestion)  the  children  decided  that  mother  has  so  much  to 
do  that  she  must  have  some  one  to  assist  in  the  general  work 
of  the  house.  They  then  organized  and  dramatized  the  work 
of  washing  and  ironing,  constructing  the  necessary  utensils 
as  they  went  along.  The  work  for  the  two  groups  varied  little 
save  that  the  older  children  did  more  of  their  own  construction. 
In  making  their  scrub  boards,  for  example,  these  children 
themselves  measured  the  required  lengths  with  rulers,  and 
were  also  able  to  do  their  own  sawing.  Most  of  these  children 
could  count  to  fourteen  and  could  understand  the  figures  on 
the  rulers. 

It  was  found  that  the  preparation  for,  the  eating  and  clear- 
ing away  of  the  mid-morning  luncheon  gave  a  continuous  set 
of  activities  affording  many  opportunities  for  self-management 
and  initiative  in  which  the  youngest  child  gradually  came  to 
competent  control  of  the  whole  procedure.  Each  child  must 
help  in  preparing  for  a  group  action.  The  counting  of  the 
chairs  was  a  coveted  task.  Each  chair  was  named  for  each  child 
many  times  until  the  idea  dawned  that  one  can  count  the  chil- 
dren and  then  count  the  chairs.  This  new  method  gradually 
extended  to  the  counting  of  the  spoons  and  other  necessary 
articles,  and  a  familiarity  with  the  use  of  numbers  in  counting 
was  gained.  It  was  useful  also  to  know  that  if  you  give  one- 
half  an  apple  to  each  child,  four  apples  are  enough  for  eight 
children,  or  if  one  cupful  of  flaked  wheat  is  enough  for  two 
children,  four  cups  must  be  used  for  eight. 

Many  operations  difficult  for  small  persons  to  surmount  grew 
out  of  table  setting.  There  were  many  materials  to  handle- 
chairs,  cups,  plates,  spoons,  napkins  and  food.  They  must  learn 
with  more  and  more  success  to  carry  properly,  to  place,  to  pour, 
to  serve,  and  to  wash  and  wipe  the  dishes.  In  all  these  processes, 
the  thinking  done  and  the  decisions  made  involved  coopera- 
tion in  a  project  with  a  social  end.  The  giving  and  receiving 
of  directions  required  definiteness  of  speech  and  courtesy  of 
manner  in  social  relationships.  To  play  host  and  hostess  in- 
volved consideration  of  others,  for  equals  in  age  and  experi- 
ence as  well  as  adults.  Interest  was  always  evident,  and  growth 
in  development  was  shown  by  an  increased  sense  of  responsi- 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  67 

bility.8  On  great  occasions,  such  as  Thanksgiving  or  Christmas, 
the  menu  for  the  luncheon  was  elaborated  and  extended  to 
include  the  actual  cooking  of  one  food,  such  as  cranberries 
or  pop  corn.  When  popping  corn  the  children's  apparent  in- 
terest was  not  in  why  the  corn  popped,  but  in  the  kind  of  dish 
to  use,  how  to  hold  it  over  the  fire,  and  most  of  all  in  the 
popped  corn,  the  ticklish  process  of  its  sharing  and  the  delight- 
ful one  of  its  consumption. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  second  year,  when  getting  the  lunch, 
certain  children,  generally  the  older  ones,  began  to  ask  why 
they  couldn't  always  cook  the  cereal  and  to  show  an  interest 
in  the  material  of  different  dry  cereals  which  they  served.  This 
interest  in  material  and  competency  to  plan  and  carry  through 
alone  the  operations  necessary  for  the  mid-morning  luncheon 
were  some  of  the  indications  that  a  child  was  ready  to  under- 
take the  more  intricate  processes  of  cooking,  which,  in  this 
school,  was  a  definitely  developed  subject-matter.  Its  scientific 
implications  were  easily  emphasized  with  all  ages,  because  of 
the  natural  social  end  of  the  luncheon.  Five  years  of  experi- 
ence resulted  in  the  decision  to  postpone  systematic  use  of 
cooking  with  heat  to  the  six-year  groups,  when  interest  in 
experimentation  as  consciously  planned  and  directed  experi- 
ment begins  to  develop.  With  younger  children,  it  was  another 
case  of  skimming  the  cream  from  an  activity  which  might  be 
used  to  great  advantage  at  a  later  period  when  desire  to  ex- 
periment with  an  end  in  view  had  awakened.9 

The  program  for  these  groups  was  always  flexible.  It  was 
adapted  to  the  seasons  and  to  special  events  such  as  Thanks- 
giving and  Christmas.  Birthdays  were  celebrated  when  one 
group  entertained  the  other  or  an  older  group.  At  some  sea- 

8  The  luncheon  was  generally  prepared  and  cleared  away  in  twenty 
minutes  and  in  consequence,  entailed  on  the  part  of  the  teacher  just  the 
kind  of  setting  that  would  prevail  in  any  well-ordered  home  where  utensils 
and  material  were  chosen  and  arranged  for  a  young  child's  use. 

a  "Overestimation  of  the  child's  ability  is  drawing  on  the  future.  It 
puts  in  the  child's  way  material  for  which  he  is  not  ripe  and  is  sure  to 
bring  on  that  attitude  of  indifference  which  is  characteristic  of  that 
unfortunate  being  known  as  the  blase  kindergarten  child."  Alice  C.  Dewey, 
"The  Place  of  the  Kindergarten  in  Education/'  Elementary  School  Teacher, 
January,  1902. 


68  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

son  of  tie  year,  usually  the  second  quarter,  the  work  included 
the  building  of  a  play  house.  This  was  a  group  enterprise. 
Cottages  with  one  or  two  rooms,  the  smallest  known  to  the 
children,  were  made  of  blocks.  Day  by  day  details  were  added. 
Streets  were  made  with  sidewalks  to  connect  with  other  streets. 
Lamp-posts  were  added  and  the  stepping  stones  across  the 
streets.  These  ideas  were  the  children's  own  and  developed 
without  direct  suggestion.  When  interest  flagged,  they  were 
aided  (by  prearrangement  of  material  and  situation)  to  carry 
on  into  a  new  phase  of  the  idea.  The  streets  and  sidewalks  of 
their  toy  town  finished  to  their  satisfaction,  a  hint  was  suffi- 
cient to  direct  attention  and  effort  to  the  interior  arrangements 
of  their  cottages.  They  outlined  the  rooms  with  six-inch  blocks 
and  with  smaller  ones  placed  in  them  the  necessary  furniture. 
Another  group  of  children  cut  their  houses  from  brown  paper 
and  drew  the  sidewalks. 

As  they  worked  there  was  talk  of  the  wood  that  was  used 
in  the  construction  of  real  cottages.  Speculation  was  rife  as  to 
where  it  came  from  and  its  many  uses.  Answers  came  easily— 
tables  and  chairs  and  the  woodwork  in  the  houses  were  sug- 
gested. Finally,  one  child  volunteered  that  trees  were  made  of 
wood  also.  Some  one  else  then  suggested  that  trees  could  be 
chopped  down  to  get  the  wood.  These  details  taken  from  the 
records  serve  to  show  how  the  self-originated  ideas  of  the  chil- 
dren were  allowed  to  develop  into  self-expression  and  to  extend 
and  enlarge  into  larger  and  more  complicated  execution.  Only 
enough  aid  was  given  to  avoid  "blocks"  in  expression  and  the 
consequent  dulling  of  interest  and  waste  of  effort  in  a  "slowed 
up"  process. 

An  expedition  to  a  hardware  store  to  see  what  tools  a  car- 
penter might  use  to  build  a  house  made  one  child  want  to 
build  his  own  house  to  take  home.  Large  boxes  were  used.  The 
older  children  measured  and  cut  all  the  paper  for  the  walls. 
The  little  children  tacked  down  the  matting  on  the  floors,  made 
a  table  for  the  dining-room  by  fastening  legs  on  a  block.  For 
chairs,  they  nailed  a  back  to  a  cube  and  tacked  on  a  leather  seat. 
The  older  children  made  tables  and  chairs  from  uncut  wood, 
which  they  measured  and  sawed  by  themselves.  When  finished, 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  69 

these  were  shellacked  and  the  seats  upholstered  with  leatherette 
and  cotton.  Some  of  the  children  painted  the  outside  of  die 
house  so  that  its  walls  should  "be  protected  from  the  weather." 
Inside  it  was  papered  "for  ornament/'  and  the  necessary  furni- 
ture for  each  room  decided  upon,  made  from  cardboard,  wood, 
or  tin,  and  put  into  place.  One  of  the  results  of  this  phase  of 
the  project  was  a  gain  in  each  child's  ability  to  carry  out  his 
own  ideas.  He  was  put  to  it  to  execute  and  to  show  individual 
results.  He  thus  secured  the  feel  of  accomplishment  according 
to  the  measure  of  his  success. 

All  the  hand-work  of  these  groups  involved  the  use  of  large 
muscles.  That  of  Group  II  was  a  little  more  advanced  than 
that  of  Group  I.  The  latter,  for  example,  were  given  two  pieces 
of  wood  to  make  a  chair— one,  4x1  inches,  the  other  a  i  x  i  inch 
cube.  Their  problem  was  to  find  a  way  of  putting  them  to- 
gether. Group  II,  however,  was  given  a  cube  and  a  long  strip 
of  wood  which  they  measured  and  sawed  to  length,  before 
constructing  the  chair.  A  leather  cushion  for  the  chair  was 
given  to  the  younger  children,  cut  the  right  size  to  fit  the  chair; 
while  the  older  children  were  given  a  large  piece  from  which 
to  cut  the  cushion  to  their  own  measurements.  This  work 
was  given  slowly,  a  few  steps  at  a  time,  not  too  closely  con- 
nected, but  in  such  a  way  that  each  step  appealed  to  the  child 
as  a  fairly  complete  whole  in  itself.  Recognition  also  was  given 
to  the  desire  all  children  have— time  to  play  with  what  they 
have  made. 

REPORT  OF  GROUP  TEACHERS 

At  the  end  of  each  quarter,  each  group  teacher  reported  on 
the  work  of  the  group.  These  reports  were  for  the  information 
of  her  colleagues  and  those  directing  the  experiment;  they 
enabled  the  writer  to  evaluate  her  series  of  activities  and  in 
the  light  of  its  success  or  failure,  to  plan  her  succeeding  pro- 
gram. Extracts  from  such  an  evaluation  of  a  quarter's  activi- 
ties, in  terms  of  the  gain  in  development  made  by  the  children 
who  engaged  in  them,  may  help  to  point  out  how  necessary 
such  reports  were  to  the  success  of  the  entire  experiment.  These 
classroom  findings  became  the  basis  of  informal  and  seminar 


70  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

discussion  out  of  which  came  the  revision  that  made  for  what- 
ever progress  in  education  this  experiment  may  have  achieved. 

10  Our  chief  aim  has  been  to  help  each  child  in  Group  I  to  gain 
control  of  himself  and  the  few  simple  materials  at  hand.  In  reality, 
this  is  the  beginning  of  his  mastery  of  the  whole  material  world.  The 
environment  is  new  to  each,  likewise  the  social  relations.  It  took 
some  time  to  become  accustomed  to  both  in  order  to  adjust  to  both. 
As  a  group,  they  have  begun  to  recognize  to  some  extent  each  other's 
rights  and  to  feel  a  certain  amount  of  responsibility  for  keeping  the 
whole  kindergarten  in  good  condition.  They  have  gained  some 
control  over  their  own  bodies,  especially  their  hands.  This  is  proved 
by  their  ability  to  arrange  materials,  build  with  blocks,  and  to  con- 
struct a  few,  simple  objects  of  paper,  tea-lead,  or  clay.  In  this  work 
and  play,  they  have  used  water-colors  to  express  their  ideas.  The 
drawing  so  far  can  scarcely  be  called  drawing;  it  is  mostly  an  oc- 
casional test  of  the  impressions  the  child  has  received  and  of  the 
skill  he  is  acquiring  in  the  way  of  giving  expression  along  these 
lines.  The  modeling  in  clay  is  beginning  to  assume  a  somewhat  more 
definite  shape,  and  the  results  are  sometimes  in  accord  with  the 
names  they  bear.  For  the  most  part,  there  is  still  more  pleasure  in 
the  mere  handling  of  the  material,  and  the  name  is  discovered  after 
the  object  is  finished. 

The  work  with  Group  II  has  been  somewhat  more  definite  so  far 
as  progress  is  concerned.  The  children  have  all  gained  considerable 
•skill  in  building  with  blocks  and  have  a  pretty  good  idea  of  the  right 
position  and  relation  of  these  blocks  to  produce  the  desired  effect. 
Free  play  has  been  given  and  then  directed  when  they  have  shown 
signs  of  finding  their  own  limitations  in  the  use  of  material.  Some- 
times, each  child  does  his  separate  piece  of  work  in  his  own  way; 
sometimes,  each  does  his  own  as  all  of  the  rest  do  theirs;  and  some- 
times, all  work  together,  each  doing  a  part  on  some  one  thing.  This 
latter  plan  is  not  altogether  successful  at  the  beginning,  but  the 
children  later  get  much  pleasure  out  of  such  cooperative  work  and 
play.  The  only  models  used  for  work  in  clay  and  color  so  far  have 
been  fruits  and  vegetables.  These  have  been  fairly  well  reproduced. 
The  drawing  has  been  interesting  in  its  different  stages,  but  progress 
is  not  marked.  Much  has  been  from  imagination,  with  an  occasional 
reproduction  of  experience  such  as  their  visit  to  the  baker  or  the 
blacksmith  shop.  The  games  have  grown  from  those  which  give 
pleasure  through  the  mere  exercising  of  the  body  to  those  which 
deal  a  little  more  with  the  imagination  and  the  dramatization  of 
actual  experience.  This  has  enlarged  their  ideas  of  social  relations. 

Each  child  begins  to  feel  in  a  small  way  the  pleasure  that  comes 

10  Group  Teachers,  Bertha  Dolling,  Elsie  Port. 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  71 

with  sharing,  as  he  relates  his  experience  in  the  morning  circle  or 
brings  from  home  something  in  which  all  are  interested.  Sometimes 
this  is  a  story  or  a  song,  a  book  or  a  pet  toy;  whatever  it  is,  they  are 
all  learning  in  a  sweet,  unconscious  way  to  give  and  have  pleasure 
in  giving.  The  more  timid  children  are  beginning  to  offer  a  remark 
or  two,  and  this  is  encouraged  as  aften  as  possible.  The  spirit  of 
helpfulness  is  often  shown  in  the  arranging  of  the  chairs  or  dusting 
before  kindergarten,  in  putting  on  their  own  wraps  as  far  as  possible, 
and  in  helping  others  who  need  it. 

Some  number  work  has  been  done  with  all  of  the  children,  more 
in  the  second  group  than  in  the  first.  In  Group  I,  each  child  can 
count  beads,  children,  blocks,  or  other  objects  up  to  six.  With  one 
or  two  when  six  is  reached,  there  is  uncertainty  and  indefiniteness. 
The  finger  will  touch  two  or  three  beads  while  counting  one,  or  will 
count  four  or  five  while  touching  two.  With  the  larger  number  of 
children,  however,  sixteen  and  seventeen  seem  to  be  the  limit. 
Two  is  about  as  large  a  number  as  they  try  to  handle  in  combina- 
tions. They  will  make  number  lessons  for  themselves,  studying  two 
beads  of  one  color,  two  of  another,  or  perhaps  two  of  one  form  and 
one  of  another.  In  Group  II  perhaps  one  or  two  of  the  children  can 
count  to  fifty  or  one  hundred,  but  the  actual  comprehension  of 
number  with  the  majority  of  the  group  stops  with  twenty  or  twenty- 
one.11  The  group  works  with  twos,  threes  and  fours,  and  can  make 
simple  combinations  of  these  numbers. 


SUMMARY 

A  spirit  of  freedom  and  mutual  respect  on  the  part  of  both 
teachers  and  children  was  as  apparent  in  these  groups  as  in 
the  older.  Each  child  came  to  see  that  orderly  self-direction 
in  his  activity  was  essential  to  group  effort:  he  learned  to  stop 
pounding  because  it  interfered  with  the  group's  story-telling, 
even  though  he  didn't  choose  to  join  the  activity  of  the  group. 
The  "good"  way  of  doing  things  developed  in  each  situation, 
and  the  best  order  of  proceeding  with  the  activity  was  formu- 
lated by  teachers  and  children  as  a  result  of  group  thought. 
Therefore,  "discipline,"  so-called,  was  not  from  above,  but  was 
evolved  as  a  result  of  the  participation  by  both  teacher  and 
children  in  a  group  activity,  and  a  school  spirit  developed 
which  fostered  social  sensitivity  and  conscience.  The  teacher's 


11  This  limit  was  probably  due  to  the  fact  that  the  class  numbered 
twenty-one. 


72  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

part  in  the  developing  play  of  these  years  is  to  see  that  the  child 
really  carries  out  his  self-initiated  game  in  such  a  way  that, 
without  unnecessary  aid  from  her,  the  play  proceeds  in  orderly 
development  to  its  finish.  This  aid  takes  the  form  of  an  in- 
telligent shared  interest  which  when  necessary  removes  "blocks" 
in  the  child's  action  so  that  it  is  free  and  unhampered  to  follow 
the  gleam  of  his  own  impulses.12  The  purpose  was  that  the  flow 
of  dynamic  energy  from  these  native  desires  to  do  and  to  make 
should  be  used  to  attain  that  measure  of  skill  in  action  which 
would  enable  him  to  accomplish  his  end  without  undue  and 
discouraging  effort.  The  satisfaction  of  this  accomplishment 
would  then  carry  over  and  give  rise  to  the  new  gleam  of  a 
larger  purpose.  In  order  that  this  flow  of  power  and  purpose 
might  be  uninterrupted,  it  was  necessary  that  the  activities  be 
continuous.  Those  of  one  day  or  week  or  period  of  develop- 
ment must  grow  out  of  the  preceding  and  into  the  succeeding 
one,  in  order  that  the  native  powers  and  acquired  skills  of 
every  child  may  be  continuously  stimulated  and  built  into 
habits  of  acting  whidi  can  cope  with  the  changing  conditions 
of  his  activity.  This  was  an  ideal  in  the  school.  Needless  to  say, 
there  were  often  breaks  in  this  desired  continuity;  subject- 
matter  that  did  not  carry  the  idea  on  nor  the  child's  original 
impulse  over  into  the  next  period  of  growth.  Discussion  as 
to  reasons  for  this  failure  led  to  elimination  or  revision. 

In  the  process  of  getting  what  he  wanted,  the  child  learned 
many  things  as  to  the  ways  and  means  of  getting  it.  Little  by 
little  in  this  school  of  experiencing,  he  was  taught  control. 
His  impulse  to  act  grew  less  immediate.  He  schooled  himself 
to  wait,  to  think,  and  plan  a  bit  before  acting.  Success  and 
failure  in  dealing  with  means  in  regard  to  ends  exercised  his 
judgment  of  the  quality  and  value  of  means  as  appropriate 
to  purpose.  When  the  conditions  were  right,  and  the  let  and 
hindrance  were  in  the  right  proportion  for  the  continuous 
development  of  his  action,  he  gradually  built  up  a  background 

12  These  "blocks"  occur  often  for  reasons  hidden  in  the  child's  past, 
sometimes  because  ot  interference  of  unsocially  developed  children  who 
get  "a  kick"  out  of  interruption  per  se. 


HOUSEHOLD  OCCUPATIONS  73 

of  both  satisfactory  and  unsatisfactory  experience,  which  gave 
him  a  basis  for  wider  choice  and  more  definite  preference. 

Ideally,  then,  he  was  well  started  in  his  growing  process. 

As  a  member  of  a  group,  he  had  learned  the  rudiments  of  co- 
operation, and  something  of  the  pleasure  of  sharing.  He  had 
experienced  the  satisfaction  of  doing  and  of  making  the  con- 
crete image  of  his  idea.  The  latter  (ideally)  self-originated,  was 
accomplished  largely  through  imitation  and  guided  by  sug- 
gestion. Little  by  little,  however,  he  had  been  thrown  on  his 
own  to  choose  his  play  or  the  material  with  which  to  develop 
his  thought,  and  he  was  already  beginning  to  investigate  and 
experiment,  to  use  "the  test  and  prove"  method.  In  the  process 
he  had  learned,  by  succeeding  and  failing,  the  subsequent  pleas- 
urable or  disagreeable  sensations,  the  satisfactory  or  unsatis- 
factory feelings.  Thus,  he  built  up  a  background  of  experience 
that  had  depth  as  well  as  range  and  quality  as  well  as  efficiency. 
His  were  the  rewards  of  a  construction  that  truly  expressed 
his  purpose,  the  pleasurable  sensations  of  the  sand  swiftly 
dropping  through  the  fingers,  the  softness  of  the  easily  molded 
clay,  the  bright  color  of  the  paints  vividly  reproducing  the 
mental  image,  the  melody  of  the  songs,  or  the  rhythm  of  the 
dances.  All  blended  into  a  living  and  expressing  that  was  truly 
artistic  in  its  quality,  however  crude  its  product. 


G, 


CHAPTER   V 

SOCIAL     OCCUPATIONS     SERVING 
THE     HOUSEHOLD 

GROUP   III   (AGE   SIX) 


'  ROUP  III  averaged  about  seventeen  in  number.  Their 
headquarters  were  in  one  of  the  best  rooms  in  the  house,  which 
also  served  as  the  biological  laboratory.  This  room  had  an 
eastern  and  southern  exposure,  with  a  big  bay-window,  closet, 
and  alcove.  Here  stood  the  vivarium  and  aquarium  that  pro- 
vided homes  for  the  many  living  things— plant  and  animal- 
collected  by  the  children. 

In  this  room  the  children  of  Group  III  spent  an  average  of 
one  and  a  half  to  two  hours  a  day.  This  time  was  used  for 
social  exchange  of  their  ideas  and  plans  and  the  dramatization 
of  the  occupations  they  were  undertaking.  A  blackboard  and 
a  sand-table  were  available  and  free  floor  space  for  games.  The 
group  was  divided  for  the  work  necessitating  individual  at- 
tention, but  went  as  a  whole  to  assembly  and  chorus  singing. 
The  entire  group  joined  twice  a  week  with  the  seven-year- 
olds  in  plays  and  games,  outdoors  and  in  the  gymnasium.  Two 
or  three  times  a  week,  they  returned  to  the  sub-primary  rooms 
for  a  half  hour  of  play  and  music  with  the  younger  children. 

Group  III  was  in  charge  of  a  teacher  trained  in  science.  She 
was  responsible  for  the  physical  condition  of  the  children,  and 
the  parents  came  to  her  for  consultation.  She  had  an  assistant.1 
The  school  period  for  these  children  was  from  nine  to  twelve, 
a  half-hour  longer  than  that  of  the  sub-primary  groups.  There 
was  no  mid-morning  luncheon  as  their  going  about  the  school 


i  Katherine  Andrews,  Wynne  Lackersteen. 

74 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      75 

and  participating  in  the  cooking  gave  them  the  necessary  op- 
portunities of  a  social  nature.  Seven  years  o£  experimentation 
with  activities  for  this  age  resulted  in  a  choice  of  present  day 
occupations  as  the  most  suitable  subject-matter.  The  general 
method  of  procedure  was  the  same  with  all  groups.  Ten  to 
fifteen  minutes  were  always  given  at  the  opening  of  school 
to  group  conversation.  What  had  been  done  was  talked  over 
and  the  reasons  for  success  or  failure  were  brought  out;  plans 
for  the  day  were  made;  jobs  were  distributed.  Each  child  served 
in  turn  as  leader.  The  written  program  was  pinned  to  him.  This 
was  for  the  guidance  of  adults  in  a  case  of  a  temporary  change 
of  rooms.  The  children  usually  carried  the  program  well  in 
mind,  although  there  were  interesting  individual  variations 
and  ability  to  lead  was  often  used  as  a  test  of  maturity  and 
judgment.  At  this  age  (six  years),  the  characteristic  attitude  is 
still  that  of  play.  Therefore,  the  greater  amount  of  time  was 
given  to  active  pursuits,  only  about  two  hours  a  week  being 
devoted  to  things  intellectual,  the  stories  and  conversations 
about  the  social  activities  of  the  group.  The  amount  of  con- 
crete number  experience  in  connection  with  constructive  work 
in  the  shop,  cooking,  and  number  games  was  unusual  for  chil- 
dren of  this  age.  This  frequent  use  of  number  symbols,  com- 
bined with  the  gradual  introduction  of  the  symbols  of  measure- 
ment throughout  this  year  and  the  next,  was  considered  the 
explanation  of  these  children's  rather  unusual  understanding 
and  later  use  of  arithmetical  relations  and  expressions.2 

Many  excursions  kept  the  balance  between  the  children's  ob- 
servational attitude  and  their  constructive  expression,  includ- 
ing music  and  all  forms  of  art.  They  were  encouraged  to  look 
in  order  to  use;  to  return  to  actual  situations  and  to  pictures 


2  A  mother  of  one  of  the  boys  in  this  group  recently  wrote  to  the  authors 
of  this  book:  "The  work  done  in  the  school  by  my  boy  in  arithmetic, 
history,  and  English  especially  pleased  me.  Because  they  were  taught 
arithmetic  concretely,  not  abstractly,  they  were  able  to  accomplish  feats  in 
mental  arithmetic  which  to  me  were  phenomenal.  They  added,  subtracted, 
and  multiplied  fractions  as  easily  as  I  did  whole  numbers.  Their  history 
was  made  a  living  thing  to  them,  and  the  good  literature  which  was  read 
to  them  was  suggestive  to  their  mother,  as  well  as  very  helpful  in  forming 
in  them  a  taste  for  good  literature." 


76  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

for  information.  In  other  words,  they  were  encouraged  to  re- 
search at  a  six-year-old  level. 

CHARACTER   OF  THE  CHILD'S   SOCIAL   INTEREST 

Beginning  with  blocks  and  floor  games  where  social  organiza- 
tion was  necessary  to  carry  work  through,  the  children  de- 
veloped an  astonishing  technique  in  the  use  of  the  sand-table 
and  all  sorts  of  materials  for  observed  or  imagined  scenes.  One 
objection  to  a  restricted  use  of  the  sand-table  was  that  such 
representation  often  became  static.  Hence  recourse  was  often 
made  to  dramatic  representation  by  the  children  themselves  in 
outdoor  meetings.  For  example,  the  sand-table  was  transferred, 
in  the  spring,  to  the  side  yard,  and  fields  and  gardens  were  laid 
out  on  a  larger  scale  and  with  a  greater  sense  of  reality. 

The  study  of  present-day  occupations,  with  its  emphasis  on 
those  supplying  the  food  necessities  of  life,  led  this  group  to 
spend  much  time  in  the  study  of  food.  In  the  kitchen-laboratory 
many  opportunities  occurred  for  the  children  to  try  things  out 
for  themselves,  to  handle  and  manipulate  materials  and  com- 
bine them,  and  to  see  and  criticize  the  results  of  their  handi- 
work. At  this  age,  they  began  also  to  go  to  the  art  studio,  al- 
though the  impromptu  drawing  and  designing  done  in  the 
group  room  were  often  still  superintended  there  by  the  art 
teacher  or  her  assistant.  Two  years  of  games  and  other  activities 
had  deepened  and  widened  their  knowledge  of  their  immediate 
physical  and  social  world.  Each  child  recognized  die  similarity 
of  his  own  to  other  homes,  and  in  some  measure,  the  de- 
pendence of  all  upon  the  larger  world  through  the  service  of 
the  many  persons  who  brought  letters,  food,  clothing,  or  other 
fundamental  necessities  for  daily  living.  Interest  had  centered 
primarily  in  the  individual  who  brought  things,  not  in  the 
things  he  brought.  Always  it  was  the  person,  what  he  did,  how 
he  did  it,  and  what  came  of  it  that  excited  their  curiosity.  Peo- 
ple, and  only  incidentally  their  occupations,  had  been  the  sub- 
ject of  his  study,  his  conversation,  and  his  play.  Gradually, 
this  interest  in  people  had  enlarged,  and  plays  had  extended 
to  activities  that  took  them  out  of  the  home  and  the  immediate 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      77 

neighborhood.  With  this  change,  the  interest  -which  earlier 
was  primarily  personal,  centering  largely  in  action  and  the 
feeling  induced  by  action,  passed  over  to  an  interest  in  the  ob- 
jective results  of  action;  from  the  milkman  carrying  the  milk 
to  the  milk,  where  it  comes  from,  and  how  it  is  made.  Ideas 
are  now  best  conveyed  to  the  child  by  the  story  form,  which 
is  also  his  own  favorite  method  of  expression.  The  story  at 
this  period  is  the  intellectual  counterpart  of  the  child's  in- 
terest. It  must  have  go,  movement,  the  sense  of  use  and  opera- 
tion. It  must  be  a  physical  whole,  holding  together  a  variety 
of  persons,  things,  and  incidents,  through  a  common  idea  that 
enlists  the  feeling  of  the  child.  The  latter  is  seeking  "wholes," 
stories  that  are  begun,  continued  and  ended,  that  are  varied 
through  episode,  enlivened  with  action,  and  defined  in  salient 
features.  The  study  of  corn,  for  example,  as  something  he  has 
seen  growing,  has  himself  husked,  shelled,  and  perhaps  ground 
is  highly  interesting  and  exciting  to  a  child  of  six.  Without  this 
background  of  personal  experience,  a  study  of  corn  separated 
from  the  story  of  the  farm  and  the  farmers,  the  miller  and 
the  mill,  becomes  divested  of  the  glory  of  its  use,  the  part  it 
plays  in  life  and  living.8 

The  material  selected  as  the  basis  for  this  stage  of  growth, 
existing  social  occupations,  was  designed  to  meet  and  feed  this 
attitude  of  this  period  of  development.  The  typical  occupations 
of  society  at  large  is  a  step  removed  from  the  child's  egoistic, 
self-absorbed  interest  and  yet  deals  with  something  personal, 
something  which  touches  him,  and  which  will  therefore  lure 
him  on.  Experience  proved  there  are  great  advantages  to  be 
gained  from  a  study  of  natural  objects  and  processes  placed  in 
a  human  setting. 

ILLUSTRATIONS    OF    MATERIALS    USED    IN    STUDY    OF    OCCUPATIONS 

The  study  of  occupations  as  carried  on  during  the  year  in- 
volved observation  of  seeds  and  their  growth,  of  plants,  wood, 

3  "Inspection  of  things  separated  from  the  idea  by  which  they  are  car- 
ried, analysis  of  isolated  detail  of  form  and  structure,  neither  appeals  to  nor 
satisfies  a  little  child."  John  Dewey,  "Introduction  to  the  Work  of  Group 
III,"  The  Elementary  School  Record,  1900. 


78  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

oil,  stones,  and  animals  as  to  phases  of  structure  and  function 
of  parts  or  habit  of  performance,  of  geographical  conditions  of 
landscape,  climate,  and  arrangement  of  land  and  water.  The 
pedagogical  problem  was  to  direct  the  child's  power  of  obser- 
vation, to  nurture  his  sympathetic  interest  in  characteristic 
traits  of  the  world  in  which  he  lives,  to  afford  interpreting  ma- 
terial for  later,  more  special  studies,  and  yet  to  supply  a  carry- 
ing medium  for  the  variety  of  facts  and  ideas  through  the 
dominant,  spontaneous  emotions  and  thoughts  of  the  child. 
No  separation  was  made  between  the  social  side  of  the  work, 
its  concern  with  people's  activities  and  their  mutual  depend- 
encies, and  the  scientific  side,  its  regard  for  physical  facts  and 
forces.  Such  conscious  distinction  between  man  and  nature  is 
the  result  of  later  reflection  and  abstraction  and  is,  therefore, 
far  beyond  the  mental  ability  of  this  stage  of  growth.  To  force 
it,  at  this  time,  will  not  only  fail  to  engage  the  child's  whole 
mental  energy,  but  will  confuse  and  distract  him.  To  make  the 
child  study  earth,  air,  or  water,  bird,  beast,  or  flower  apart  from 
environment  and  out  of  relation  to  their  use  by  other  factors 
in  the  environment,  their  function  in  the  total  life-process, 
cuts  the  tie  that  relates  and  binds  natural  facts  and  forces  to 
people  and  their  activities.  The  child's  interest  fades  for  he 
misses  the  way.  His  imagination  finds  no  avenue  of  connection 
that  makes  object,  fact,  or  process  concrete  to  him.  He  loses  his 
original  open,  free  attitude  to  natural  facts.  Nature  herself  is 
reduced  to  a  mass  of  meaningless  details.  In  contrast,  however, 
when  a  natural  object  is  clothed  with  human  significance  and 
human  association,  a  road  lies  open  from  the  child's  mind  to 
the  object  through  the  connection  of  the  latter  with  life  itself. 
The  unity  of  life,  as  it  presents  itself  to  the  child,  thus  binds 
together  and  carries  along  the  different  occupations  of  living. 
The  diversity  of  plants,  animals,  and  geographical  conditions; 
drawing,  modeling,  games,  constructive  work,  numerical  cal- 
culations, are  ways  of  carrying  certain  features  of  it  to  a  com- 
pleted mental  and  emotional  satisfaction.  It  was  found  that 
such  interaction  of  the  various  matters  studied  and  of  the 
powers  that  were  acquired  by  the  children  avoided  waste  and 
maintained  unity  of  mental  growth.  The  problem  of  correla- 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      79 

tion,  therefore,  often  solved  through  devices  of  instruction  em- 
ployed to  tie  together  things  in  themselves  disconnected,  was 
not  present  in  this  school  because  of  the  community  and  con- 
tinuity of  its  subject-matter. 

In  addition,  the  study  of  the  often  observed,  well-known, 
everyday  occupations  of  living  satisfied  two  recognized  de- 
mands and  principles  of  primary  education:  (i)  the  need  of 
the  familiar,  the  already  experienced,  as  a  basis  for  moving 
upon  the  unknown  and  remote;  (2)  the  important  claim  for 
the  part  which  the  child's  imagination  plays  in  the  process. 
Each  day  the  child  had  occasion  and  opportunity  to  get  from 
and  exchange  with  others  his  store  of  experience,  his  range  of 
information.  He  needed  continually  to  make  new  observations, 
correcting  and  extending  them  in  order  to  keep  his  own  images 
moving  and  find  mental  rest  and  satisfaction  in  definite  and 
vivid  realization  of  what  is  new  and  enriching. 


DETAILS  OF   METHODS   USED 

Children  in  Group  III  (age  six)  were  beginning  their  third 
year  of  school.  The  first  week  was  usually  full  of  talk  about  the 
experiences  of  the  past  summer.  These  were  related  by  skilful 
direction  and  suggestion  to  the  work  of  the  previous  year  and 
the  attention  gradually  focused  on  the  extension  of  these  in- 
terests to  their  present  and  future  activities.  The  group  went 
outdoors  every  day  and  noted  the  changes  taking  place  in  the 
woods,  fields,  and  parks.  Insects  were  found  going  into  winter 
quarters,  and  many  kinds  of  seeds  were  collected.  The  question 
of  seed  distribution  came  up,  and  the  children  thought  of  va- 
rious agents—the  wind,  people,  and  various  sorts  of  animals. 
Talk  and  interest  centered  for  some  time  on  seeds,  and  excur- 
sions were  taken  to  the  park  and  the  woods  twenty  blocks 
away,  where  several  seeds  that  were  good  to  eat  were  found. 
This  suggested  others  also  good  for  food,  and  finally,  each 
child  made  a  list  of  such  seeds  and  with  help,  classified  them  as 
(i)  those  where  the  seed  house  was  good  to  eat,  (2)  where  the 
seed  house  was  not  good,  (3)  those  fruits  such  as  the  tomato, 
the  bean,  and  the  cucumber  where  both  the  seed  and  seed 


8o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

house  were  good  for  food.  The  next  point  developed  was  that 
certain  seeds  are  cultivated  for  their  food  value  by  people  who 
are  called  farmers.  This  took  the  children's  thoughts  into  the 
country  and  back  to  their  previous  year's  experience  and  the 
various  farms  they  had  visited.  Some  one  suggested,  "let's  make 
a  farm,"  and  they  were  then  started  on  a  project  similar  to  that 
of  the  previous  years.  There  are,  however,  several  points  of 
difference  worthy  of  notice.  Although  the  same  use  of  materials 
continued  with  these  children,  more  definite  forms  of  control 
were  established.  Desirable  means  were  considered  with  rela- 
tion to  desired  ends.  This  is  well  illustrated  by  the  way  in 
which  the  seeds  that  are  good  for  food,  the  cereals,  were  studied 
in  cooking.  The  preparation  and  cooking  of  the  cereals  brought 
out  their  constituents.  This  led  to  an  additional  classification 
of  foods  with  relation  to  their  source,  whether  the  seeds,  the 
stalks,  or  the  roots  of  plants. 

The  possibilities  found  in  the  gardening  and  indoor  occu- 
pational work  possible  for  this  year  increased  so  rapidly  with 
the  increased  capacity  of  the  child  that  the  choice  was  almost 
unlimited.  All  the  problems  connected  with  plant  growth  recur 
in  the  care  of  plants  and  animals,  but  now  definite  experimen- 
tation, planned  by  the  child,  began.  The  storing  up  of  food 
by  the  plants  either  in  seeds,  leaves,  stems,  or  roots  can  be  taken 
as  a  problem  in  itself  and  linked  with  the  care  of  the  school- 
room bulbs  or  garden  seed.  Another  link  made  in  the  child's 
mind  during  this  year  was  the  dependence  of  animals  (and 
human  beings)  upon  plants  and  of  plants  upon  the  soil.4 

GENERAL   PROGRAM   OF  A  TYPICAL   GROUP 

The  general  method  of  the  classroom,  for  the  most  part, 
followed  a  certain  daily  order.  At  the  beginning  of  the  period, 
the  children  were  given  time  for  the  exchange  of  the  amenities 
of  the  day  usual  to  a  group  of  persons  meeting  after  an  ab- 
sence. This  general  conversation  was  soon  directed  by  the 

*  While  too  much  emphasis  should  not  be  placed  upon  the  child's  dawn- 
ing interest  in  discovering  for  himself  appearing  at  this  age,  yet  it  can 
be  utilized  in  finding  new  ways  of  getting  old  results. 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      81 

teacher  to  the  business  of  the  day.  The  results  of  previous  work 
were  reviewed  in  a  group  process,  and  plans  for  further  devel- 
opment were  discussed.  Each  child  was  encouraged  to  con- 
tribute, either  out  of  his  past  experience  or  his  imagination, 
ways  and  means  of  meeting  the  problem  of  needs  that  might 
arise  under  new  circumstances.  These  suggestions  were  dis- 
cussed by  the  group,  and  with  the  aid  of  the  teacher,  the  plans 
for  the  work  of  the  day  were  decided  upon  and  delegated.  At 
the  close  of  the  period,  there  was  again  a  group  meeting  when 
the  results,  if  successful,  were  summarized,  and  new  plans  for 
further  work  at  the  next  period  suggested. 

The  first  project  of  the  year  started  off  with  the  building  of 
a  farm-house  and  barn  out  of  large  blocks  varying  in  size  up 
to  six  inches.  In  order  to  find  the  dimensions  of  their  square 
houses,  the  children  added  the  lengths  of  the  blocks  on  one 
side  and  found  the  sum  to  be  twelve  inches  or  one  foot.  A  plan 
for  a  chicken  coop  of  manilla  paper  was  then  discussed  and  was 
finally  marked  off  in  two-  and  three-inch  lengths,  a  rough  ap- 
proximation to  keep  in  scale  with  the  house.  In  the  meantime, 
attention  was  centered  on  the  farm  itself,  and  the  decision  was 
made  to  raise  corn  and  wheat  and  to  have  sheep  and  a  dairy. 
The  land  was  divided  into  fields  and  pastures,  which  were  then 
fenced.  For  this  they  gathered  twigs  (to  take  the  place  of  logs 
in  making  a  rail  fence),  cut  them  into  six-inch  lengths,  and 
built  the  fence  three  rails  high.  Around  their  pastures,  how- 
ever, they  decided  to  have  a  stone  fence,  as  they  thought  this 
was  stronger.  Work  continued  to  some  extent  on  the  farm- 
house. Boards  were  cut  to  proper  lengths,  with  spaces  for  the 
door  and  windows.  A  chicken  coop  was  started.  In  planning 
the  back  part  of  this,  when  laying  off  spaces  for  the  windows 
and  doors,  it  suddenly  struck  the  children  that  the  door  was 
wider  than  it  was  high.  One  of  the  children  went  to  another 
table  and  measured  the  door  already  laid  off  for  the  front 
of  the  farm-house,  and  came  back  with  the  correct  dimensions. 
This  was  an  encouraging  indication  of  a  developing  power  of 
initiative  and  judgment.  The  square,  the  triangle,  and  the 
ruler  were  used  freely.  Although  they  had  used  the  latter  only 
a  short  time,  they  were  very  apt  in  its  use.  They  knew  the  inch 


82  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

and  half-inch,  but  hesitated  on  the  quarter-inch.  In  general, 
it  was  found  that  they  all  took  manual  directions  very  well  and 
showed  great  ability  to  plan  and  a  high  degree  of  independ- 
ence in  the  execution  of  their  plans,  doing  all  the  measuring 
and  sawing  themselves.  As  the  project  developed  they  suggested 
many  of  the  things  necessary  in  the  making  of  a  suitable  house. 
The  interest  was  well-sustained.  In  the  kindergarten  these  chil- 
dren had  been  accustomed  to  making  things  that  could  be 
finished  in  one  day,  but  they  worked  on  this  for  almost  two 
weeks  without  any  loss  of  interest. 

Early  in  the  fall  the  group  measured  off  and  cleaned  a  space 
in  the  school  yard  five  by  ten  feet  for  planting  their  winter 
wheat.  A  method  of  plowing  was  discussed  and  at  one  child's 
suggestion,  a  sharp  stick  was  used  and  the  field  prepared  in 
which  the  wheat  was  sown.  In  their  sand-box  farm  their  imag- 
inary crop  had  come  to  fruition  and,  like  the  sheaf  brought 
in  from  the  farm,  was  ready  for  threshing.  The  various  parts 
of  the  whole  plant  and  their  uses  were  discussed  with  the  con- 
clusion that  the  seed  was  of  most  value  to  people.  A  list  was 
made  of  the  wheat  foods  they  had  eaten— breakfast  foods  of 
coarsely  ground  wheat,  and  bread  and  cake  from  the  finely 
ground  flour.  They  played  that  they  were  farmers  and  dis- 
cussed the  best  means  of  getting  the  seeds  from  the  hulls,  as 
they  called  the  process  of  threshing.  At  first  they  picked  it  out 
by  hand.  This  was  too  slow,  so  they  suggested  beating  it  with 
a  stick  and  found  that  only  the  edge  of  the  stick  struck  the 
ground.  The  problem  was  taken  to  the  shop  director,  and  with 
the  help  of  some  questioning,  the  children  decided  that  if  the 
farmer  had  two  sticks  joined  together,  more  of  the  stick  would 
hit  the  grain  and  thus  the  work  would  be  done  more  quickly. 
The  handle  of  the  flail  was  made  twice  as  long  as  the  part  that 
hits  the  grain.  The  next  stop  was  to  experiment  with  the 
wheat  they  had  threshed  and  winnowed.  Accordingly,  it  was 
pounded  in  a  mortar  and  compared  to  some  fine,  white  flour. 
They  saw  that  the  inside  of  the  grain  was  soft  and  white  like 
the  fine  flour,  but  that  it  was  mixed  with  coarse,  yellow  par- 
ticles. A  child  suggested  putting  this  meal  through  a  sieve  to 
separate  the  coarse  from  the  fine.  This  was  done,  but  although 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      83 

the  meal  was  a  good  deal  finer,  some  of  the  yellow  particles 
still  remained.  They  then  wanted  to  put  it  through  a  still  finer 
sieve,  but  as  there  was  none  convenient,  the  process  of  bolting 
was  explained  to  them,  and  the  flour  was  sifted  through  some 
cheese  cloth.  This  took  out  all  the  yellow  particles  and  left 
the  flour  fine  and  white.  They  had  in  the  end  about  three 
tablespoonsful  o£  it,  which  was  used  in  making  a  cake. 

The  experimental  work  with  the  food  products  of  the  farm 
and  the  effect  of  heat  upon  them  as  demonstrated  in  the  cook- 
ing bulked  large  in  the  daily  activities  of  these  children.  The 
interest  in  this  phase  of  their  occupational  work  was  keen  and 
assumed  great  importance  in  the  development  of  the  whole 
project  and  particularly  in  their  use  of  numbers.  When  they 
talked  about  grains  in  the  classroom,  they  cooked  cereals  in 
the  kitchen.  For  this  they  needed  to  learn  to  measure,  to  know 
how  many  teaspoons  equal  one  tablespoon,  how  many  table- 
spoons equal  one  cup,  and  so  on.  They  discovered  that  two 
halves  make  a  cupful,  just  the  same  as  three  thirds,  or  four 
quarters,  and  they  came  to  talk  about  %,  %,  or  %  of  a  cupful, 
with  ease  and  certainty.  It  was  easy  for  them  to  see  that  %  of 
a  cup  of  water  is  i  and  %  of  a  cup. 

Much  also  of  the  number  work  was  related  to  the  construc- 
tion work  done  on  their  farm  or  in  connection  with  it.  When 
their  sand-table  farm  had  to  be  divided  into  several  fields  for 
wheat,  corn,  oats,  and  also  for  the  house  and  the  barn,  the 
children  used  a  one-foot  ruler  as  a  unit  of  measurement  and 
came  to  understand  what  was  meant  by  "fourths  and  halves"— 
the  divisions  made,  though  not  accurate,  were  near  enough  to 
allow  them  to  mark  off  their  farm.  As  they  became  more  fa- 
miliar with  the  ruler  and  learned  the  half -foot,  and  the  quarter- 
foot  and  inch,  finer  work  was  naturally  expected  of  them  and 
obtained.  Their  use  of  this  tool  made  it  easy  to  distinguish 
those  children  who  had  had  a  kindergarten  education  from 
those  who  had  just  entered  the  group.  When  building  the 
farm-house,  four  posts  were  needed  for  the  corners  and  six 
or  seven  slats,  all  of  the  same  height.  In  measuring  the  latter, 
the  children  frequently  forgot  to  keep  the  left-hand  edge  of  the 
ruler  on  the  left-hand  side  of  the  slat,  so  the  measurements  had 


84  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

to  be  repeated  two  or  three  times  before  they  were  correct. 
What  they  did  to  one  side  of  the  house,  they  also  did  to  the 
other  and  naturally  worked  more  rapidly  and  more  accurately 
as  the  work  was  repeated. 

A  new  game  of  dominoes,  invented  by  one  of  the  teachers,5 
did  much  to  interest  the  children  in  the  composition  of  num- 
bers. Each  domino  had  lines  in  place  of  dots.  These  when 
joined  make  numbers.  A  child  is  asked  to  take  eight  blocks. 
At  first,  he  takes  one  block  at  a  time,  eight  times.  He  builds 
his  eight  and  is  asked  what  he  sees  in  it.  He  may  see  four  and 
four  or  five  and  three.  When  all  the  compositions  of  eight  are 
exhausted,  he  is  asked  how  he  can  take  eight  blocks  more 
rapidly  than  just  one  at  a  time.  He  may  say:  "Take  six  in  one 
hand  and  two  in  the  other,"  or  "four  in  one  hand  and  four  in 
the  other,"  and  then  proceeds  to  demonstrate  this,  by  building 
an  eight  with  a  six  and  two,  a  four  and  four,  and  so  on.  This 
was  done  with  all  numbers  up  to  twenty.  When  they  came  to 
the  number  ten,  a  child  was  asked  to  count  the  fingers  on  both 
hands  and  when  he  answered  ten,  was  told  that  he  had  counted 
"once  around  his  fingers,"  and  a  symbol  for  that  was  "i  (once) 
O  round."  The  children  agreed  this  might  have  been  the 
development  of  our  "10."  Twenty  was  then  twice  (2)  around 
and  so  on.  In  making  eleven,  twelve,  and  the  "teens,"  they 
built  their  ten  and  began  again  to  build  another  ten,  but  the 
blocks  gave  out  (purposely).  One  of  the  blocks  from  each 
child's  set  was  marked  with  a  blue  chalk  line,  and  this  marked 
block  represented  ten.  So  when  they  made  eleven,  twelve,  etc., 
they  made  it  with  the  ten  block  and  one  or  two  more.  They 
were  interested  and  understood  quickly.  The  report  com- 
ments "the  children  of  these  two  groups  seem  to  be  mathema- 
tically inclined,  and  numbers  are  a  pleasure  to  them." 

An  interest  in  reading  also  developed  during  these  weeks, 
starting  in  a  game  which  necessitated  it.  All  the  things  they 
had  found  in  their  outdoor  excursions  were  placed  on  a  table. 
Sentences  were  written  on  the  board,  such  as:  "Find  a  cocoon," 
and  the  child  who  could  read  it  was  allowed  to  run  and  get  the 


s  Clinton  Osbora. 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD       85 

cocoon.  After  playing  this  game  a  few  times,  the  same  sentences 
were  shown  printed  in  large  type,  so  that  they  would  get  the 
printed  form  simultaneously  with  the  script.  They  seemed  very 
eagei  to  read  and  decided  themselves  to  make  a  weekly  record 
of  their  work.  This  record  was  printed  from  time  to  time  in 
large  type  and  was  reread  with  undiminished  interest.  One 
of  the  children  brought  David  Starr  Jordan's  The  Story  of 
Knight  and  Barbara  to  school.  Knight  and  Barbara  were  chil- 
dren of  three  and  six,  who  retold  and  illustrated  the  stories 
that  had  been  told  to  them.  The  children  were  so  pleased  with 
the  book  that  they  thought  they  would  like  to  make  one  like 
it  and  at  once  set  to  work  on  the  fable  of  the  Hare  and  the 
Tortoise  as  the  first  story  for  their  book.  The  story  was  told 
to  them  and  they  retold  about  one  half  of  it  at  one  sitting. 
This  took  some  time  as  considerable  discussion  was  necessary 
to  make  their  story  logical  and  clear.  The  story  was  written  on 
the  board  and,  when  completed,  was  printed  in  large  type  on 
the  charts,  and  later  in  small  type  for  their  books.  The  group 
seems  to  have  shown  the  same  sustained  interest  in  reading 
and  in  finishing  these  books  that  they  did  in  the  making  of 
their  farm  and,  in  general,  exhibited  a  rather  remarkable  abil- 
ity to  concentrate  on  all  phases  of  their  work. 

DETAILS  OF  EARLY  DRAMATIC  PLAY 

Dramatic  play  frequently  helped  initiate  a  new  phase  of  the 
activity  and  as  frequently  was  the  means  of  summarizing  the 
result  of  a  period's  work.  The  distribution  of  the  threshed  or 
milled  wheat  started  off  with  such  a  play.  The  setting  for  the 
play,  the  farm  and  the  mill,  was  constructed  of  large  blocks; 
some  children  played  they  were  farmers;  others  were  millers. 
The  farmers  carried  wheat  to  the  mill;  the  millers  ground  it. 
The  farmer  paid  the  miller  by  letting  him  keep  some  of  the 
flour  and  carried  home  the  rest  for  bread  in  sacks  already  pre- 
pared for  this  purpose  by  the  children.  Wagons  were  needed, 
and  in  a  day  or  two  these  outnumbered  their  horses.  Day  by 
day  the  idea  grew,  helped  on  by  timely  hint  or  suggestion. 

It  was  explained  that  times  had  changed,  that  now  there  was 


86  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

no  small  near-by  mill  where  a  farmer  could  take  his  grain.  It 
must  be  sent  many  miles  away  to  a  large  mill,  which  ground 
the  wheat  of  many  farms,  and  when  each  farmer  wanted  flour, 
he  bought  it  at  a  grocery  store  in  the  nearest  town.  It  took 
some  time  for  them  to  get  a  clear  idea  of  the  modern  trans- 
portation of  wheat  from  the  farm  to  the  big  mill  and  the  dis- 
tribution of  the  flour  from  the  mill.  Here  again,  their  first 
ideas  were  worked  out  through  dramatic  play.  Some  of  them 
were  to  be  farmers,  some  trainmen,  some  mill  hands,  and  some 
grocers  in  different  towns.  The  farmers  were  to  take  the  wheat 
to  the  nearest  small  town  where  it  could  be  put  on  the  train 
and  sent  to  a  large  city  mill  many  miles  away.  Here  the  millers 
would  receive  it  and,  after  making  it  into  flour,  would  put  it 
on  another  train  and  send  it  to  the  grocers  in  the  different 
towns  where  it  would  be  sold  to  the  farmers  when  they  might 
want  it.  In  order  that  the  play  should  be  a  success,  much  prep- 
aration was  required,  and  the  little  farmers  were  again  busy 
in  the  shop,  making  miniature  bushel,  peck,  and  other  neces- 
sary measures.  These,  through  the  careful  planning  of  the 
teacher,  were  circular;  all  had  bottoms  of  the  same  size  and 
varied  only  in  height.  Incidentally,  but  logically,  they  then  saw 
that  to  be  good  actors,  they  must  learn  how  to  use  these  tools 
in  order  to  measure  out  their  grain. 

It  was  necessary  to  help  them  in  the  logical  arrangement  of 
the  rather  complicated  series  of  acts  necessary  in  their  play. 
Early  in  the  process  of  making  the  plan,  each  child  was  given 
a  large  piece  of  paper  and  a  pencil,  and  diagrams  were  made 
representing  the  ideas  previously  worked  out.  Circles  were 
used  to  represent  towns  and  cities,  squares  to  represent  farms, 
lines  for  railroads,  and  a  pictorial  representation  of  the  events 
of  the  play  was  thus  worked  out. 

Other  cereals  such  as  corn  and  oats  were  studied  in  the  same 
manner  as  wheat.  The  developing  activities  in  each  case  fur- 
nished opportunities  for  close  correlation  between  the  shop, 
the  sewing,  and  the  textile  and  art  studios.  Needs  were  many  in 
these  miniature  living  projects.  Groups  of  children  or  individ- 
uals frequented  the  shop  for  help  in  making  wagons,  fence 
pickets,  house  lumber,  or  furnishings.  Others  besieged  the  tex- 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      87 

tile  studio  for  bags  for  their  grain  or  to  make  rugs  on  their 
looms.  Thence  to  the  art  studio  for  design  ideas  for  either  rugs 
or  book  covers  or  illustrations  for  their  written  records.  There 
was  much  need  to  know  what  to  use  and  how  to  use  it  in  their 
never  ending  activity.  It  had  the  qualities  and  possibilities  of 
real  living;  "it  was  genuine  and  linked  to  desired  ends.  It  was 
not  too  easy  nor  yet  too  hard,  but  was  of  such  a  nature  that  the 
child  was  alternately  satisfied  with  his  accomplishment  and 
lured  on  to  greater  undertaking. 

The  study  of  the  farmer's  life  now  took  up  the  animals  on 
his  farm.  The  cow  and  the  dairy  products  seemed  of  first  im- 
portance to  the  children.  A  list  was  made  of  all  the  foods  given 
by  the  cow— milk,  cream,  butter,  cheese,  the  flesh  which  is 
used  for  food,  and  the  skin  for  leather.6  The  group  talked 
about  the  habits  of  the  cow  and  watched  those  in  the  lot 
across  the  street.  They  concluded  that  most  of  a  cow's  time  was 
spent  in  eating  grass.  It  was  explained  to  the  children  that  grass 
contained  very  little  nourishment,  and  the  cows  had  to  eat 
great  quantities  of  it  in  order  to  get  enough  for  their  needs. 
It  was  noticed  that  when  the  cow  was  biting  off  the  grass,  she 
did  not  stop  to  chew  it,  but  ate  it  very  rapidly.  The  children 
then  observed  some  of  the  cows  lying  in  the  shade,  chewing. 
Again  it  was  explained  that  long  ago  the  flesh-eating  animals 
preyed  on  those  which  lived  on  grass.  The  latter,  always  in  dan- 
ger when  they  went  out  into  the  open  grassy  places  had  to  eat 
quickly.  Out  of  this  grew  the  habit  of  rolling  the  cropped  grass 
into  balls  and  swallowing  them  into  the  first  stomach,  where 
they  lay  until  these  animals  could  return  into  the  comparative 
safety  of  the  woods.  Here,  while  resting,  the  muscles  of  the 
throat  brought  these  balls  up  into  the  mouth  again,  where 
they  were  thoroughly  chewed  and  then  swallowed  into  the 
second  stomach. 

The  winter  quarter  was  begun  with  talk  of  the  sheep-raising 
business  on  a  farm.  The  kind  of  land  was  considered  that  a 


«  The  work  in  cooking  was  in  close  correlation.  In  the  science  laboratory 
an  attempt  was  made  to  tan  leather.  The  various  daily  products  were 
studied,  and  butter  was  made  by  each  child  in  an  improvised  individual 
churn. 


88  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

fanner  would  use  for  the  pasture  for  sheep.  After  much  dis- 
cussion supplemented  at  the  right  moment  by  bits  of  informa- 
tion and  timely  reference  to  maps  on  the  part  of  the  teacher, 
the  group  finally  decided  that  a  temperate  climate  would  be 
the  best.  The  cold  winters  would  make  the  wool  grow  well, 
and  the  sheep  would  not  miss  their  warm  coats  in  the  summer. 
On  the  globe,  they  found  the  principal  sheep-raising  districts, 
which  were  located  midway  between  the  equator  and  the  poles. 
The  raw  wool  was  examined  and  its  agency  in  seed  distribution 
was  noted.  The  natural  oil  in  the  wool  of  the  sheep  was  dis- 
covered by  dipping  the  wool  into  water  and  noticing  how  it 
shed  the  water.  Wool  was  compared  with  duck  feathers  that 
also  shed  water;  wool  was  burned  to  get  the  odor,  which  the 
children  compared  with  burning  fat  and  burning  hair.  They 
then  tested  different  kinds  of  cloth  to  see  if  they  could  tell 
those  made  of  wool,  first  by  feeling  of  it,  then  by  noticing  its 
absorbent  qualities,  and  then  by  burning.  As  a  next  step,  the 
wool  was  pulled  out  and  twisted  to  show  how  easily  it  could 
be  made  into  thread.  The  manner  of  shearing,  of  washing,  and 
of  transporting  the  fleece  to  the  factory  was  discussed.  Through 
picture,  song,  and  story  this  age-old  occupation  was  surrounded 
by  and  linked  to  some  of  its  many  esthetic  connotations. 

EXTENSION  OF  INTEREST  TO  OTHER  CLIMATES  AND  PRODUCTS 

The  children  now  seemed  ready  and  interested  to  go  farther 
afield  and  think  about  the  farming  crops  of  other  climates 
than  their  own.  Accordingly,  a  study  was  made  of  cotton. 
The  plant  was  drawn  and  finally  pulled  to  pieces  to  find  how 
many  seeds  the  ball  contained.  As  these  seemed  more  than 
were  necessary  for  replanting,  the  question  came  up  as  to  what 
could  be  done  with  the  excess.  As  the  children  did  not  know 
and  had  no  suggestions,  it  was  necessary  to  tell  them.  They 
opened  some  of  the  seeds  and  saw  that  the  inside  is  like  a  little 
nut,  which  they  thought  might  be  good  to  eat.  They  were 
told  that,  ground  up,  it  made  an  excellent  food  for  cattle  and 
saw  for  themselves  that  the  inside  of  the  seed  is  very  rich  and 
oily.  They  then  learned  more  of  the  characteristics  and  uses  of 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      89 

cotton-seed  oil.  They  wanted  to  plant  some  of  the  cotton  seeds 
and  raise  cotton  themselves.  As  it  was  too  cold  for  this  out-of- 
doors,  some  was  put  in  flower-pots  in  the  house,  and  at  the 
same  time  corn  and  wheat  were  planted  to  see  which  would 
be  the  first  to  germinate.  In  this  connection,  the  question  of 
climate  came  up,  and  the  children  found  the  places  on  the 
globe  where  cotton  could  easily  be  raised.  A  cotton  plantation 
was  described  to  them,  and  they  were  told  of  the  old-fashioned 
way  of  separating  the  seeds  from  the  cotton.  An  ounce  of  the 
cotton  was  weighed,  and  ten  children  took  ten  minutes  to  re- 
move the  seeds.  They  saw  that  this  was  a  very  slow  and  im- 
possible process  by  hand  and  suggested  the  use  of  machinery. 
When  told  of  the  invention  of  the  cotton-gin,  they  readily 
understood  that  this  would  make  the  cotton  much  cheaper. 
They  then  spent  some  time  in  removing  the  seeds  from  a 
quarter-pound  of  cotton  and  making  it  into  bales.  A  small 
quantity  of  picked  cotton  was  then  ginned  and  with  much 
speculation  and  interest  was  again  weighed,  and  found  to  have 
lost  one  half  its  weight.  Their  written  conclusion  was  that  the 
seeds  made  up  half  of  the  weight  of  the  boll.  In  the  process  of 
weighing  the  children  became  familiar  with  the  pound,  half- 
pound,  and  other  weights  and  grew  able  to  tell  how  many 
ounce  weights  are  equivalent  to  a  pound,  how  many  quarter- 
pound  weights  to  the  pound  or  to  the  half-pound,  and  how 
many  ounces  there  are  in  each  of  these  weights.  They  also  spent 
a  little  time  counting  by  two,  three,  four,  and  five. 

The  ginned  cotton  was  finally  baled  and  prepared  for  ship- 
ment to  the  factory.  For  this  they  first  cut  four-inch  squares  of 
paper,  working  out  the  problem  for  themselves,  which  served 
as  patterns  for  the  cloth  squares  in  which  they  sewed  the 
cotton.  This  was  then  tied  with  string.  Some  was  shipped  to  a 
cloth  factory  in  the  north  and  some  went  to  be  made  into 
thread.  To  help  them  summarize  the  whole  process,  they  were 
shown  a  case  of  samples  of  cotton  in  its  various  stages  of  manu- 
facture from  the  raw  cotton  to  the  finished  product.  After 
talking  about  it,  the  children  were  asked  to  describe  the  process 
without  looking  at  the  samples.  As  they  could  not  do  this  the 
whole  lesson  was  repeated  until  they  were  able  to  give  a  con- 


go  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

secutive  description.  They  then  commenced  to  make  little 
combs  for  combing  the  cotton,  as  this  is  the  first  step  after  it 
reaches  the  mill. 

During  this  period  at  the  close  of  each  step  of  the  process,  a 
written  record  was  made  of  the  work.  Often  this  was  put  in  the 
form  of  a  drama.  Toward  the  close  of  the  quarter,  and  after 
the  carpenters  of  the  group  had  finished  the  train  of  cars 
which  was  to  transport  their  cotton  crop  from  the  factory  to 
the  wholesale  stores,  the  complete  dramatization  was  under- 
taken. Parts  were  assigned  and  the  different  steps  in  the  process 
were  clearly  outlined  so  that  each  child  would  have  a  definite 
idea  of  the  part  he  was  to  take.  The  children  made  a  list  of  the 
places  to  be  represented  in  the  play,  such  as  the  plantation,  the 
factory,  the  wholesale  and  retail  stores,  and  so  on.  This  was 
written  on  the  board  and  opposite  each  place  was  written  the 
names  of  the  children  who  were  to  be  in  that  particular  part. 
Some  hands  on  the  plantation,  some  trainmen,  some  factory 
hands,  and  so  on.  It  took  quite  a  time  to  organize  this  play, 
and  several  rehearsals  on  different  days  were  necessary  be- 
fore things  went  smoothly.  Each  child  soon  realized  the  part 
he  must  play  and  was  able  to  act  out  the  steps  of  the  different 
processes  in  their  right  order.  The  written  story  of  their  work 
was  finished.  It  recorded  the  chief  facts  they  knew  about  cotton 
and  was  read  in  an  assembly  of  the  whole  school. 

The  next  development  in  the  story  grew  out  of  the  past  ex- 
perience and  led  them  on  into  a  new  experiment.  When  trying 
to  locate  the  places  on  the  globe  where  cotton  might  grow,  they 
had  noticed  Egypt  and  the  adjoining  desert  of  Sahara  and 
could  not  understand  why  cotton  would  not  grow  in  the  desert. 
The  conditions  there  were  explained,  and  they  realized  that 
cotton  needs  water  as  well  as  heat.  One  of  the  children  im- 
mediately asked  what  farmers  do  when  they  cannot  get  water 
on  their  farms.  On  looking  at  the  globe  they  saw  the  great 
stretch  of  country  in  the  western  part  of  this  continent  where 
there  is  never  a  sufficient  water  supply. 

In  talking  over  the  causes  for  this,  they  said  right  away  that 
the  water  would  have  to  come  from  the  Pacific  Ocean,  which 
is  the  nearest  large  body  of  water.  It  was  explained  how  the 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      91 

winds  blowing  across  the  lands  would  strike  high  mountains 
and  would  lose  their  moisture.  Some  of  the  children  said  that 
the  wind  could  still  get  over  the  mountains,  but  that  it  would 
be  a  dry  wind.  Then,  looking  from  the  eastern  side  of  this  dry 
•district,  they  saw  that  the  east  wind  after  traveling  over  the 
land  such  a  great  distance  would  also  be  dry.  One  of  the  chil- 
dren had  been  in  Lower  California  and  spoke  of  that  as  a  dry 
country.  Another  child  brought  up  the  question  of  why  it  is 
a  dry  country  when  it  is  so  near  the  sea  shore  where  it  can  get 
such  a  supply  of  water.  One  boy  suggested  that  the  wind  might 
blow  from  a  different  direction,  but  it  was  decided  that  the 
wind  from  any  direction  other  than  the  west  would  be  dry 
because  of  the  mountains.  In  another  period  the  same  topic 
was  discussed  and  the  same  conclusion  reached. 

Again  they  studied  the  barren  district  in  the  western  part  of 
this  country  and  again  noted  the  mountains  to  the  west  with 
the  understanding  that  the  western  sides  of  the  mountains 
would  be  places  of  great  rainfall.  They  suggested  that  if  they 
could  get  the  water  from  the  mountains  for  these  dry  regions, 
it  would  be  "all  right."  It  might  be  carried  by  train  in  carts; 
but  they  soon  saw  this  was  impracticable,  and  the  problem  was 
left  for  solution  until  the  next  period  when  they  launched  into 
the  methods  of  irrigation.  This  involved  a  good  deal  of  ex- 
perimentation on  the  sand-table.  After  much  questioning  as 
to  the  best  method  of  irrigation,  they  thought  that  the  natural 
flow  of  water  from  a  high  place  to  a  lower  one  could  be  uti- 
lized, and  by  means  of  ditches  the  water  could  be  taken  into 
the  different  parts  of  a  farm.  Their  idea  was  that  the  supply  of 
water  from  mountain  streams  would  be  small  at  certain  seasons 
of  the  year,  but  could  be  stored  in  large  tanks.  They  then  went 
to  the  sand-box  and  built  farms  on  this  principle.  They  poured 
water  into  their  lake  in  the  hills,  but  some  of  them  found  that 
they  did  not  get  a  supply  of  water  on  their  farms  because  they 
had  made  their  ditches  without  any  regard  to  the  natural 
slopes.  A  talk  followed  about  the  conditions  under  which  water 
would  flow  from  one  place  to  another.  A  good  many  experi- 
ments were  necessary,  but  finally,  they  decided  that  the  supply 
tank  must  be  on  a  hill  and  the  ditches  must  extend  down  a 


gsj  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

slope,  or  the  water  would  not  run  in  them.  They  next  decided 
to  use  pipes  instead  of  ditches,  as  the  ditches  might  get  clogged 
up  or  the  water  might  soak  into  the  ground,  and  some  men- 
tioned the  loss  from  evaporation  which  would  take  place  from 
ditches  in  a  warm  country.  None  of  the  children,  however, 
realized  that  the  water  could  go  up  the  hill  as  high  as  the 
place  it  started  from.  A  high  tank  was  therefore  arranged  with 
an  outlet  of  bent  glass  tubing,  and  the  children  found  that  the 
water  in  the  tube  rose  as  high  as  that  in  the  tank.  If  they 
raised  or  lowered  the  tank,  the  water  would  also  rise  or  sink, 
the  water  in  the  tube  staying  at  the  level  of  that  in  the  tank. 
After  this  experimentation  it  was  decided  that  the  best  system  of 
irrigation  would  be  to  place  the  tank  on  the  highest  hill  and 
put  the  pipes  on  the  slopes.  The  next  problem  was  raised  by  a 
child  who  asked  how  water  could  get  to  a  second  story  that 
was  higher  than  the  level  of  the  lake.  A  little  city  was  built 
of  blocks  in  the  sand-box,  and  the  problem  was  how  to  get 
water  to  a  point  higher  than  any  of  the  houses.  The  children's 
solution  was  a  water-tower.  Water  was  pumped  from  the  level 
of  the  lake  to  the  level  of  the  tower,  and  they  proved  to  their 
own  satisfaction  that  it  would  rise  about  as  high  in  the  pipes 
as  its  level  in  the  tower. 

The  next  separate  enterprise  was  the  lumber  camp.  Out  of 
their  own  experience  and  needs,  the  children  realized  that  great 
quantities  of  wood  are  needed  for  houses,  tables,  and  chairs,  and 
their  curiosity  was  aroused  as  to  where  the  supply  came  from 
and  how.  Lack  of  space,  however,  renders  it  impossible  to 
quote  these  records  of  the  lumbering  process,  the  development 
of  the  sawmill,  and  the  transportation  of  the  finished  product 
to  the  retail  dispensing  houses;  nor  is  it  possible  to  include  the 
succeeding  project  of  coal  and  ore  mining  and  its  transporta- 
tion. 

As  previously  indicated,  each  occupation  was  often  initiated 
and  usually  concluded  with  a  dramatic  play.  The  children  thus 
demonstrated  to  themselves  their  gain  in  power  to  image  and 
to  execute.  Their  first  efforts  to  dramatize  the  play  of  "Miller" 
compared  with  the  later  detailed  and  complicated  drama  of 
"Cotton"  showed  a  decided  gain  in  power  to  plan,  to  carry  out, 


OCCUPATIONS  SERVING  HOUSEHOLD      93 

and  to  consider  the  end  in  terms  of  the  means  available  to 
reach  the  end. 

The  written  record  of  the  work  continued  at  regular  inter- 
vals and  was  printed  for  the  group  from  time  to  time  on  the 
school  press  and  then  read  by  them  with  great  interest.  Some 
work  on  phonetics  was  slipped  in  with  the  reading  of  the 
records,  and  the  children  learned  easily  the  sounds  of  about 
eight  consonants,  were  able  to  give  the  sound  of  the  latter  when 
they  saw  it  written,  and  could  write  it  when  given  the  sound. 
As  their  ability  to  read  increased,  more  time  was  given  to 
collateral  reading  both  to  them  and  by  them,  until  toward 
the  end  of  the  year  a  half-an-hour  a  day  was  devoted  to  read- 
ing and  the  writing  of  connected  sentences.  The  reports  com- 
ment that  "they  read  with  intelligence,  have  a  good  idea  of 
phonics,  and  show  great  independence  in  forming  new  words." 

SUMMARY   OF   THE   FIRST  THREE   YEARS 

Thus  in  the  first  three  years  of  his  school  life  the  child's  play 
enlarged  from  the  mimic  games  of  his  home  people  to  those 
of  the  persons  who  contributed  to  the  daily  life  of  the  home. 
His  interests  gradually  extended  to  their  activities  and  the 
things  they  did,  made,  or  bought.  Foods  were  traced  to  their 
sources,  and  finished  products  of  wood  or  clothing  to  their  raw 
materials.  So  far  as  he  was  able,  he  reproduced  these  activities 
and  himself  learned  to  shape  materials  and  means  to  reach  his 
ends  or  to  fashion  his  ideas.  In  the  shop  he  was  shown  from  the 
first  the  right  ways  of  handling  the  saw  or  the  plane,  as  he 
made  from  the  wood  of  this  tree  or  that  something  to  use  in 
expressing  his  ideas.  In  the  textile  room  he  fingered  the  raw 
wool,  the  cotton,  the  flax,  or  the  silk  and  compared  it  with  the 
cloth  of  his  coat  or  the  shining  luster  of  his  mother's  dress,  and 
the  old  lure  of  "the  how"  and  "the  why"  began  to  stir.  In  all 
the  activities  which  filled  his  day,  spinning,  weaving,  cooking, 
shop-work,  modeling,  dramatic  plays,  conversation,  story- 
telling, or  discussion,  he  was  vitally  interested  and  constantly 
absorbed  knowledge  of  materials  and  processes.  His  activities 
were  always  fundamental  and  typical  and,  therefore,  related 


94  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

and  recapitulated  his  similar  previous  attempts,  enriching  and 
enlarging  them  into  more  definite  purposes  and  plans.  Thus, 
experience,  was  an  onflowing  stream  continually  enlarged  from 
all  sides  by  the  pouring  in  of  useful  knowledge. 

As  life  flowed  on,  the  child  became  conscious  of  his  social 
relationships:  that  there  were  others  in  the  group  like  him 
who  had  rights  and  privileges;  that  it  was  far  more  fun  to  play 
games  with  them  even  if  he  must  renounce  somewhat  his  own 
way  and  consider  the  way  of  others  in  relation  to  his  own.  It 
was  more  pleasant  to  work  with  them,  even  if  he  must  think 
of  the  consequences  of  what  he  did  in  relation  to  others'  plans, 
and  he  soon  came  to  see  that  his  consideration  of  and  work 
with  others  was  to  the  advantage  of  all,  that  by  pooling  his- 
effort  with  that  of  the  group,  larger  and  more  interesting  re- 
sults were  obtained.  There  was  a  noticeable  difference  between 
those  of  the  children  who  had  been  trained  for  three  years  in 
the  discipline  of  the  school's  activities  and  those  who  had  but 
recently  entered.  The  former  took  hold  of  new  situations  much 
more  competently  than  the  new  comers. 

All  along  the  way  the  function  of  the  teacher  was  to  assist 
and  further,  by  direction  and  anticipation,  to  remove  the  too- 
difficult  elements  of  the  situation  such  as  search  for  material 
and  too  detailed  preparation  of  material.  At  the  same  time 
she  must  see  to  it  that  the  way  was  not  made  too  plain,  that 
there  was  enough  hindrance  to  his  plan  to  stimulate  his  fac- 
ulties of  resourcefulness  and  judgment  in  directing  the  choice 
of  ways  or  means  so  that  the  meaning  of  his  plays,  his  games, 
his  activities  continually  grew.  New  needs  constantly  arose  in 
process,  and  new  responsibilities  were  as  constantly  assumed 
by  the  child.  The  effect  of  discovering,  of  inventing,  of  using 
facts  and  processes  to  further  his  activity,  enlarged  his  ideal  of 
it,  gave  an  increased  confidence  in  his  ability  to  handle  ma- 
terials and  a  deeper  appreciation  of  their  worth.  Most  im- 
portant of  all,  there  developed  unconsciously  a  habit  of  acting 
that  made  him  an  essential  human  factor  in  his  environment. 


CHAPTER   VI 

PROGRESS     THROUGH     INVENTION 
AND     DISCOVERY 

GROUP  rv  (AGE  SEVEN) 

vJFROUP  IV  averaged  fourteen  in  number.  The  group  was 
divided  for  its  activities,  which  centered  around  the  historical 
development  of  the  fundamental  occupations  with  special 
emphasis  upon  the  progress  made  in  methods  due  to  inven- 
tion and  discovery.  The  headquarters  for  this  group  was  a 
northeast  room  which  had  a  large  eastern  bay-window,  fire- 
place, and  closet  and  was  also  used  as  part  of  the  chemical  and 
physical  laboratory.  The  room  was  large  and  was  furnished 
sparsely  with  a  sand-table,  a  smaller  table,  and  the  necessary 
chairs.  The  school  session  was  from  nine  to  twelve,  and  about 
one  and  a  half  hours  of  this  time  were  spent  with  the  group 
teacher.  More  time  than  with  Group  III,  however,  was  given 
to  conversation  and  the  discussion  necessary  to  the  organiza- 
tion of  the  dramatic  occupational  work.  The  textile  activities 
in  this  year  overbalanced  those  of  the  shop  and  the  kitchen. 
The  time  spent  in  the  art  studio  was  also  increased,  and  the 
first  steps  in  technique  were  undertaken  in  this  year.1  The 
group  teacher  in  charge  of  the  group  was  trained  in  science  and 
was  helped  by  the  assistant  who  also  worked  with  Group  III.2 
Two  years  of  experimentation  with  subject-matter  for  chil- 
dren of  seven  and  eight  years  had  given  indications  that  this 
is  a  transitional  age.  For  three  years  the  children  had  been  in- 
terested in  and  busy  with  the  occupations  of  the  various 

1  There  was  a  division  of  opinion  as  to  whether  the  introduction  of 
conscious  technique  thus  early  was  advantageous. 

2  Katherine  Camp,  Wynne  Lackersteen. 

95 


96  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

persons  through  whom  food  or  clothing  came  to  the  home  and 
with  the  sources  of  the  materials  from  which  the  home  itself 
was  built,  was  lighted,  or  kept  warm.  Each  child  had  been 
helped  to  imagine,  to  express  in  some  tangible  form,  or  to 
dramatize  his  own  ideas  of  these  occupations.  In  the  process 
he  had  stored  away  many  useful  facts,  had  learned  some  skills 
of  hand  and  eye,  and  had  become  familiar  with  the  folk  lore 
and  ways  of  his  own  people.  As  a  result  of  what  he  had  done 
and  seen,  he  had  come  to  know  something  of  the  value  of  his 
own  impulses  through  seeing  what  they  can  effect.  The  emo- 
tional satisfaction  such  expression  gave  led  him  to  think  about 
and  experiment  with  better  ways  to  express  and  thus  discover 
the  use  of  the  scientific  method  although  at  this  age  not  yet 
formulated  as  such.  He  had  also  gained  from  experience  an 
idea  of  the  moving  character  of  the  present,  in  the  life  of  which 
he  was  a  factor.  At  this  age  a  child's  activities  are  still  for  the 
most  part  direct  from  idea  to  action  by  use  of  the  physical 
environment,  but  he  is  willing  to  develop  an  idea  to  a  certain 
extent  before  expressing  it.  He  is  not  content,  for  example, 
with  a  one-act  play  of  "Miller,"  for  he  sees  that  a  real  miller 
goes  through  a  series  of  acts  and  dimly  perceives  that  there  is 
an  end  in  view.  The  new  realization  of  and  interest  in  the  ends 
and  aims  of  action  go  hand  in  hand  with  an  increasing  will- 
ingness and  ability  for  longer  periods  of  mental  concentration. 
His  best  loved  materials  for  play  are  still  sticks  and  stones,  dirt 
and  sand,  fire  and  water.  Social  situations  interest  him,  persons 
using  and  controlling  their  environment  in  getting  food,  cloth- 
ing, shelter,  and  gradually,  comfort  and  satisfaction.  Life  is 
still  a  unity  to  him.  Facts  and  skills  are  interesting  and  worth 
while  only  as  they  help  in  his  activities.  It  makes  no  difference 
whether  the  occupations  he  is  reliving  are  those  of  the  present 
time  in  the  forests  of  Michigan  or  those  of  primitive  man  or  of 
Greek  and  Roman  days.  His  interest  is  in  carrying  on  his  play. 

CENTERING  INTEREST   ON   PRIMITIVE   LIFE 

Less  and  less  often  is  his  question  "What  does  he  do?" 
Wonder  has  begun  to  stir  his  imaginings  as  to  the  whence  and 


GARDENING  FOR  THE  YOUNGER  GROUPS 


DRAWING  WORKING  PLANS  FOR  FARM   UTENSILS 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  97 

the  where.  The  lure  of  the  how  and  the  why  begins  at  this 
age  to  leaven  the  questing  mind.  The  child  is  less  and  less  con- 
tent with  endless  imitation  and  likes  more  and  more  to  experi- 
ment and,  after  the  fashion  of  his  own  thinking,  to  originate. 
The  spirit  of  inquiry  is  opening  the  door  to  investigation,  to 
discovery  and  invention.  These  and  other  signs  along  the 
way  seem  to  show  a  changing,  an  enlarging,  and  increasing 
purpose. 

The  aim  of  this  year's  study,  therefore,  was  to  make  sure  of 
these  enlarging  interests  and  awakening  impulses  to  action 
and  to  carry  the  child,  by  means  of  them,  into  an  ever  enlarg- 
ing understanding  of  his  moving  stream  of  life— whence  and 
how  it  comes,  whither  and  how  it  goes.  The  dawning  psycho- 
logical consciousness  of  a  relation  between  the  means  and  the 
end  suggests  that  the  interests  of  the  child  of  this  age  are  ready 
to  extend  to  persons  in  situations  different  from  his  own.  In 
response  to  this  awakening  interest  in  other  times  and  situa- 
tions, the  work  for  this  group  became  historical  in  character. 
It  was  still  concerned  with  what  men  do,  but  the  factors  of 
men,  their  environment,  and  relationships  were  stretched  out 
longitudinally,  as  it  were,  into  the  characters,  environment, 
and  social  situations  of  primitive  times.  Continuity  of  sub- 
ject-matter, the  fundamental  activities  of  getting  food,  and 
providing  shelter  and  clothing,  was  thus  preserved  and  at  the 
same  time  the  physical  and  social  settings  of  these  activities  were 
so  simplified  that  they  permitted  and  required  the  greater  detail 
and  definiteness  of  treatment  that  the  child's  present  environ- 
ment denies.  It  was  necessary  for  him  to  lift  himself  and  his 
images  out  of  the  complexity  of  his  present  life  and  gradually 
people  the  situation  and  environment  of  an  utterly  different 
period  of  time.  This  required  a  certain  power  of  abstraction. 
Farming,  as  studied  the  previous  year,  had  shown  what  certain 
people  do,  what  things  they  come  in  contact  with,  how  they 
use  them,  and  how  the  farmer  serves  other  people.  Agriculture 
taken  in  historic  perspective,  however,  while  reviewing  much  of 
this  material,  throws  emphasis  upon  the  peculiar  needs  in  man's 
life  which  call  forth  this  occupation,  and  the  way  in  which  it 
reacts  upon  the  make-up  of  society.  In  one  case,  the  matter  is 


98  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

taken  up  as  a  situation  to  be  realized;  in  the  other  as  some- 
thing whose  typical  motives  and  effects  are  to  be  discovered 
and  traced.  Used  in  this  way,  the  historic  statement  as  Mr. 
Dewey  suggests,  "is  a  method  of  analysis  of  existing  social  life, 
not  mere  information  about  something  past  and  gone." 

The  historic  approach  also  requires  attention  to  the  se- 
quence and  order  of  progress  in  its  larger  and  more  obvious 
features.  The  child  is  led  to  consider  imaginatively  the  needs 
of  other  times  and  places  which  call  forth  certain  kinds  of 
occupations  and  the  devices  and  inventions  that  gradually  take 
place  in  them.  He  sees  the  advance  made  in  ways  of  living 
through  control  of  tools,  fire,  and  directed  uses  of  wind  and 
water.  He  understands  the  greater  feeling  of  security  that  re- 
sults from  a  more  constant  source  of  food  and  from  the  com- 
bination and  cooperation  of  individuals  and  families  in  a  clan 
organization.  He  recognizes  that  the  qualities  of  leadership 
demanded  in  war  and  hunting  cannot  take  away  the  control 
of  affairs  from  those  of  the  clan  who  are  wise  in  tradition,  the 
old,  both  men  and  women,  and  thus  comes  naturally  to  a 
respect  for  age  and  experience.  He  learns  that  it  is  necessary 
to  know  both  how  to  follow  and  how  to  lead  and  that  there  is 
adventure  under  as  well  as  of  leadership.  This  sort  of  dramatic 
play  cannot  fail  to  make  clear  the  way  invention  reacts  upon 
life  and  calls  into  play  new  powers  of  both  individuals  and 
groups,  new  ways  of  cooperation  and  association,  and  leads  to 
the  use  of  natural  objects  and  the  control  of  forces  hitherto 
unmastered.  "The  orderly  and  cumulative  narrative  of  history 
is  logic  in  its  concrete  form,  a  form  which  appeals  to  the  child 
mind  of  this  age." 

This  type  of  material  uses  the  interest  in  the  primitive  and 
the  savage  so  characteristic  of  children  of  this  age.  It  could  be 
said  with  truth  that  the  fundamental  interests  of  a  child  at  this 
stage  of  growth  and  of  a  savage  are  the  same,  food,  comfort, 
shelter,  although  with  the  child  these  interests  are  multiplied 
and  refined.  It  could  be  said  that  the  child  is  like  the  savage 
in  ability  but  not  in  capability,  for  behind  the  former  lies  the 
great  heritage  of  civilization.  It  follows  that  the  activities  of 
primitive  peoples  are  in  line  with  the  child's  interests  and 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  99 

under  wise  direction  this  study  can  provide  the  avenues  for  his 
best  effort. 

The  dangers  attendant  upon  an  unwise  use  of  the  primitive 
life  approach  were  fully  recognized,  but  the  advantages  ap- 
parent in  the  results  of  repeated  experiment  with  such  a  study 
seemed  far  to  outweight  its  disadvantages.  The  dramatic  use 
of  its  incidents  utilized  the  interest  of  the  child  in  the  primitive 
way  of  living  so  as  to  minimize  the  sensational  or  merely 
picturesque  features  and  bring  out  its  defects.  He  came  to 
realize  the  motives  that  otherwise  lie  hidden  from  the  modern 
civilized  child,  and  the  hard  conditions  of  primitive  life  that 
forced  men  to  work  their  way  to  a  better  and  better  life  of  a 
kind  that  gave  a  sense  of  peace  and  security.  When  the  child 
realizes  the  reality  of  primitive  problems,  he  wants  to  redis- 
cover and  reinvent  for  himself  the  better  ways  and  means  of 
living.  He  thus  finds  the  secret  of  advance  which  has  resulted 
for  the  race  in  an  upward  spiral  of  progressive  action. 

Finally,  and  most  important  of  all,  it  was  hoped  that  if  good 
practice  proved  the  method  true,  there  would  crystallize  in  the 
child  as  a  by-product  of  this  directed  activity,  a  similar  habit  of 
considered  and  considerate  behavior  which  would  carry  over 
into  his  present  situations.  Certain  rather  sensational  incidents 
proved  there  was  basis  for  such  a  hope.  A  child  of  eight  who 
had  carried  such  a  program  was  playing  in  the  attic  of  his 
home  with  his  sister  of  thirteen  and  his  brother  of  four  when 
he  suddenly  saw  his  brother's  clothing  in  flames.  The  sister  ran 
shrieking  for  adult  help,  while  our  boy  wrapped  a  blanket 
about  his  brother,  threw  him  to  the  floor,  and  smothered  the 
flames  so  quickly  that  no  serious  injury  resulted.  When  praised 
for  his  quick  work  and  asked  how  he  knew  what  to  do,  the  boy, 
very  simply  and  with  no  apparent  feeling  that  he  had  done 
anything  unusual,  replied  that  his  teacher  the  previous  year 
had  told  them  the  different  ways  of  putting  out  fire  with  earth, 
heavy  cloths,  water,  and  so  on  and  had  shown  them  just  how 
to  act  in  case  clothing  caught  fire.  In  another  group  where  the 
teacher  had  not  sufficiently  emphasized  the  right  choice  of  a 
place  to  build  a  fire,  a  little  child  went  home  and  started  a 
fire  on  the  wooden  floor  of  a  closet. 


ioo  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

METHOD    OF   STUDYING   PRIMITIVE    LIFE 

The  starting  point  of  the  study  for  this  year  was  varied,  de- 
pending upon  the  background  and  experience  of  both  teacher 
and  children.3  Sometimes  the  journey  back  to  the  long  ago  was 
made  by  the  old,  old  road  of  "Let's  pretend,"  dropping  along 
the  way,  one  by  one,  all  the  comforts  and  conveniences  of  pres- 
ent foods,  clothing,  and  shelter  which  the  children  thought 
they  could  do  without.4  By  this  process  of  eliminating  the  non- 
essentials  they  were  reduced  to  water  (always  mentioned  as  the 
first  essential),  food,  and  the  necessity  of  protection  from  the 
elements  and  wild  animals.  They  found  difficulty,  some  groups 
more  than  others,  in  imagining  any  life  without  fire  and  guns, 
while  clothing  was  easily  cast  aside  as  immaterial  to  comfort. 
They  told  various  stories  of  the  possible  ways  in  which  fire  was 
discovered,  although  the  one  which  seems  perhaps  the  most 
obvious,  lightning,  had  to  be  suggested.  They  had  heard  of 
making  fire  with  flint,  by  rubbing  sticks  together,  and  sug- 
gested that  it  might  have  been  first  taken  from  volcanic  sources. 
The  value  of  fire  for  protection  from  the  dangers  of  primitive 
times  necessitated  some  elaboration  of  the  abundant  animal 
life  then  existing.  After  much  individual  experimentation  each 
child  learned  to  make  a  fire  and  formulated  the  chief  things 
requisite  to  the  experiment:  (i)  a  supply  of  air,  (2)  use  of  in- 
flammable material  such  as  kindling,  (3)  proper  arrangement  in 
stacking  sticks  for  the  admission  of  air.  They  decided  that  as 
it  was  very  hard  to  start  a  fire  in  those  days,  it  would  be  well 
to  find  some  way  of  keeping  it  from  going  out.  They  discovered 
that  hard  wood  burns  slowly  and  that  by  partial  covering  from 
air  fire  can  be  kept  for  a  long  time. 

3  The  study  of  primitive  life  was  always  present  in  the  curriculum  at  this 
stage  of  growth,  but  by  reason  of  its  imaginative  nature  it  varied  widely 
from  year  to  year.  Each  year  it  was  the  outgrowth  of  a  particular  group  of 
children  and  teacher  by  whom  it  was  planned  and  enacted.  Other  material 
was  also  tried— Indian,  Eskimo,  African  savage  tribes,  but  the  course  de- 
scribed seems  to  have  been  the  most  fruitful  in  its  results. 

*  The  ability  to  reconstruct  such  scenes  varied  with  the  experience  of 
both  children  and  teacher. 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  101 

It  was  difficult 5  for  one  class  to  carry  out  dramatically  even 
the  simplest  imagined  scenes  in  the  daily  life  they  were  discuss- 
ing or  to  construct  adequate  images  of  the  physical  surround- 
ings as  the  setting  for  a  story.  Neither  could  they  suggest  in- 
cidents which  might  fit  this  setting.  Much  time,  therefore,  was 
spent  in  experimental  work  with  the  materials  which  primitive 
peoples  would  use,  and  then  the  children  could  more  easily 
originate  and  dramatize  the  story  side  of  the  study.  In  addition 
to  their  work  with  fire,  they  carried  out  in  detail  (as  far  as 
their  physical  limitations  would  allow)  such  things  as  the 
selection  of  stones  for  making  weapons,  cooking  by  roasting 
and  by  boiling  with  the  aid  of  heated  stones.  They  talked  about 
the  sort  of  place  early  man  used  for  shelter,  trees  and  caves 
and  their  comparative  merits,  and  how  the  discovery  of  fire 
had  made  the  cave  a  more  comfortable  and  safe  place  to  live. 
The  questions  of  where  caves  would  be  found  and  how  they 
were  formed  were  considered  very  slightly.  The  kinds  of  rock 
in  which  some  of  the  children  had  seen  caves,  limestone  and 
granite,  were  compared  with  a  view  to  the  probable  shape 
and  size  of  the  caves  in  each.  The  various  foods  that  could  be 
found  by  men  of  this  period  were  thought  of  and  grouped  by 
the  children  under  four  main  heads:  berries,  fruits,  roots,  and 
animal  food.  The  sort  of  weapons  used  and  the  ways  of  getting 
animal  food  were  talked  over.  One  child  said  that  if  they  once 
found  nuts,  they  could  make  a  trap  baited  with  nuts  for  squir- 
rels, and  when  they  had  a  squirrel,  they  could  bait  a  larger 
trap  for  bear.  The  first  inventions  suggested  were  improve- 
ments in  weapons.  Shape  was  suited  to  purpose.  The  club  with 
its  inserted  stones  developed  into  the  spear  and  axe  with  a 
sharpened  stone  at  the  end  of  a  handle.  A  question  as  to  the 
kind  of  stone  suitable  for  weapons  brought  out  the  idea  that 
it  must  be  such  as  would  break  in  sharp  edges,  and  that  these 
edges  must  not  crumble  or  flake  off  easily.  Various  stones,  such 
as  limestone,  granite,  slate,  soapstone,  and  flint,  were  examined 
for  cleavage  and  friability  and  were  tested  by  the  children  to 

«  The  failure  of  the  story  and  dramatic  approach  caused  the  substitution 
of  experiments  with  primitive  materials. 


102  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

find  out  which  possessed  these  characteristics.  They  were,  one 
by  one,  rejected  with  the  exception  of  granite,  flint,  and  the 
harder  limestone.  When  making  their  clubs  and  spears  the 
children  were  told  that  guitar  and  violin  strings  had  the  same 
characteristics  as  the  sinews  and  skins,  and  these  were  used  for 
binding  arrow-heads  onto  sticks.  After  soaking  and  drying, 
the  sinews  would  readily  split  and,  when  soaked  again  and 
wound  closely  around  the  arrow-head,  would  shrink  in  dry- 
ing and  hold  the  arrow-head  tightly  in  place.  The  invention  of 
the  bow  and  arrow  was  described,  and  its  advantages  for  the 
tribe  which  possessed  it  were  brought  out  by  showing  that  men 
now  had  a  weapon  which  could  be  used  from  a  distance,  thus 
lessening  the  risk  to  the  user  and  increasing  his  chances  of 
success  in  hunting  or  defense. 

Cave  life  as  a  whole,  with  its  weapons,  utensils,  and  clothing, 
was  worked  out  in  tangible  form  by  the  children.  Much  other, 
detailed  preliminary  work  gave  background  and  a  setting  in 
which  the  children,  in  fancy,  could  become  a  tribe  of  primi- 
tive people.  Caves  were  constructed  of  various  shapes  and  sizes 
on  the  sand-table.  Into  them  were  put  the  necessary  utensils 
and  weapons.  When  this  was  done,  the  class  discussed  the 
merits  of  each  cave,  each  child  selecting  the  one  he  would  pre- 
fer. Their  talk  brought  out  various  improvements,  such  as 
blocking  up  the  doorway  and  the  proper  placing  of  the  fire 
beneath  the  smoke  hole.  Each  cave,  when  finished,  contained 
a  rude  spit  for  roasting,  a  stone  pot  for  boiling,  chipped  out  of 
rock,  weapons,  huge  stone  axes  and  spears,  a  bed,  and  skins 
of  beasts  that  had  been  slain  for  use  as  clothing.  In  discussion 
they  came  to  see  the  use  of  the  stone  pot  for  cooking  meat  and 
nuts  in  water  heated  to  boiling  by  hot  stones.  They  then  heated 
different  kinds  of  stone,  limestone,  sandstone,  slate,  and  granite 
over  bunsen  burners  and  threw  them  into  water  to  see  how 
this  was  done. 

It  was  only  after  this  preliminary  work  that  one  group  could 
appreciate  Stanley  Waterloo's  Story  of  Ab  enough  to  act  out 
dramatically  such  incidents  as  the  meeting  of  the  two  boys 
and  their  plans  for  the  capture  of  some  grazing  animal  by  the 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  103 

construction  of  a  pitfall  in  the  plains  below  their  homes,6  could 
imagine  and  carry  out  more  easily  the  autobiographical  ac- 
count of  their  own  tribe,  could  state  their  problems  and  discuss 
intelligently  ways  and  means  of  solving  them,  and  thus  develop 
an  attitude  of  mind  that  was  alert  to  discovery  and  invention. 

In  these  various  ways  the  children  passed  imaginatively 
through  different  stages  of  living.  Their  tribe,  more  independ- 
ent through  the  invention  of  the  bow  and  arrow,  migrated  to 
homes  nearer  the  open  plains  in  the  lower  part  of  the  river 
valley,  where  the  grazing  animals,  which  were  now  their  special 
dependence  for  food,  were  most  abundant.  The  necessity  of 
hunting  the  mastodon  was  suggested  by  the  children  as  the 
reason  for  a  combination  with  a  tribe  near-by.  Such  a  hunt  re- 
quired many  people,  and  its  success  depended  upon  some  de- 
gree of  coordination  under  a  leader,  whose  position  had  been 
gained  by  acknowledged  ability  and  whose  commands,  for  the 
time  being,  all  must  obey.  Another  possible  reason  for  a  com- 
bination defense  might  be  an  appeal  for  help  from  the  raids  of 
a  cave  tiger  upon  an  isolated  community.  Skilful  direction  by 
leaders  was  recognized  as  essential  to  success  where  large  num- 
bers were  concerned. 

The  temporary  combination  for  a  specific  aim  brought  the 
children  logically  to  the  consideration  of  how  a  permanent 
combination  might  develop  out  of  the  need  of  a  change  of 
residence,  necessitated  by  the  migration  of  the  animals,  their 
chief  source  of  food.  The  children  were  helped  to  develop  the 
situation  and  physical  setting  out  of  which  the  need  for  such 
a  migration  would  probably  arise.  They  gathered  together  all 
the  physical  characteristics  of  their  present  home,  the  high 
bank  and  river  valley.  They  were  told  it  was  the  time  of  year 
when  the  days  would  begin  to  shorten,  and  the  birds  and 
animals  move  southward.  The  experience  of  a  bad  winter  the 
previous  year  was  given  as  a  reason  for  moving  southward  with 
the  animals.  They  discussed  the  plan  of  going  and,  with  a  good 
deal  of  help,  decided  that  the  river  was  the  easiest  route  to  the 

«  Some  classes  preferred  the  Story  of  Ab  as  told  by  the  teacher;  others  de- 
manded the  book  to  be  read  in  serial  fashion  week  after  week. 


104  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

south.  They  quickly  suggested  a  raft  as  the  easiest  plan  for 
transportation.  They  then  organized  a  party,  naming  the 
things  they  would  take  with  them  and  the  way  each  thing 
would  have  to  be  carried. 

They  agreed  that  their  leader  would  have  to  be  one  who  had 
at  some  previous  time  followed  the  river  and  found  the  animals 
on  the  plains  near  its  mouth,  and  they  discussed  the  qualities 
that  would  make  a  man  a  leader.  They  said  he  would  have  to 
be  brave  and  willing  to  meet  danger,  and  that  he  must  know 
a  great  deal  and  own  a  great  many  arrows.  They  then  elected 
as  leader  one  from  their  number.  One  of  the  children  said, 
"Just  like  voting  for  President."  The  question  was  asked  what 
name  the  chosen  leader  would  have,  and  how  people  would  be 
named  in  those  days.  As  they  had  no  suggestions  ready,  they 
were  told  the  story  of  how  each  young  Indian  earned  his  name 
by  what  he  had  done.  Instead  of  suggesting  a  name  for  their 
leader  from  the  exploits  of  one  of  their  own  tribe,  they 
promptly  transferred  the  name  of  a  young  Indian  to  their 
leader. 

The  children  had  several  times  proposed  finding  and  using 
clay,  but  were  not  able  to  suggest  how  or  where  it  could  be 
found.  Upon  starting  down  the  river  in  their  migration  to  the 
plains,  one  child  suddenly  recalled  the  fact  that  he  himself 
had  found  clay  in  the  banks  overhanging  a  small  river  and 
proposed  that  the  party  should  have  that  experience  on  their 
way  down  the  river  on  rafts.  In  order  to  find  out  in  what  sort 
of  a  place,  plain  or  hill,  high  bank  or  low  level,  the  clay  would 
be  found,  they  experimented  with  clay  and  sand  on  the  sand- 
table  and  found  how  both  would  settle  when  the  water  became 
still.  Their  surprise  in  finding  the  water  perfectly  clear  above 
the  clay  was  very  pronounced.  They  decided  that  as  the  clay 
settled  only  in  the  glass  that  was  kept  still,  the  clay  would  be 
"dropped,"  as  they  called  it,  in  quiet  waters,  or  "ponds."  They 
proposed  that  their  party  camp  out  on  flat  lands  near  the 
river,  where  the  clay  bottom  of  such  a  pond  was  drying  in  the 
sun.  They  made  a  map  of  this  part  of  the  river  valley  and  a 
lake  in  the  flat  plain.  They  put  water  (into  which  they  had 
stirred  clay)  in  the  hilly  part  of  the  sand-table  map,  so  that  it 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  105 

flowed  down  into  the  lake  below,  settled,  and  formed  a  clay 
bed. 

The  making  of  clay  vessels  has  been  so  often  and  so  success- 
fully worked  out  that  for  brevity's  sake  it  seems  best  merely  to 
list  the  outstanding  things  gained  by  the  children  in  the  rather 
long  series  of  experimental  activities  incident  to  this  phase  of 
the  study.  They  worked  out: 

(1)  The  principle  that  the  shape  of  a  vessel  should  be  controlled 
by  its  use 

(2)  The  length  of  time  necessary  for  drying  before  firing 

(3)  The  change  of  the  color  of  ochre  to  red  after  firing 

(4)  The  source  of  the  black  used  by  the  Navajo  Indians,  soot 

(5)  The  type  of  the  first  form  of  potter's  wheel,  a  flat  disk  of  wood 
or  stone  turning  on  a  smooth  surface.    (They  made  one.  This 
was  used  by  some  of  the  children  in  making  their  vessels.) 

These  results  suggest  the  way  in  which  ample  time  was 
given  the  children  to  play  and  experiment  with  the  various 
raw  materials  used  in  their  activities.  The  simplicity  of  the 
things  they  played  with  was  enriched  by  frequent  visits  to  the 
museum  to  see  the  results  of  the  perfected  technique  of  primi- 
tive peoples.  Their  own  lack  of  it  never  seemed  to  bother  them. 
Although  all  this  experimental  work  took  some  time,  the  chil- 
dren did  not  lose  their  sense  of  identification  with  the  tribe. 
They  frequently  discussed  the  individuals  they  were  imperson- 
ating, some  choosing  names  for  themselves.  One  called  himself 
Clay-finder. 

About  this  time  also  the  children  began  to  show  a  more 
alert  interest  in  the  tribe's  doings  and  were  able  to  realize  and 
picture  the  physical  features  of  its  setting  much  more  intelli- 
gently than  before. 

They  went  over  the  uses  to  which  they  could  put  the  different 
parts  of  the  animals  the  clan  would  kill,  the  flesh  and  marrow 
of  the  bones  for  food,  the  bones  and  horns  for  weapons.  Wool 
was  studied  to  see  the  use  to  which  the  hair  of  an  animal  could 
be  put;  the  inside  fibres  of  the  bark  of  the  basswood  were  torn 
out  and  woven  into  mats;  and  the  children  tried  dyeing  the 
fibres  with  dogwood  and  berries  gathered  in  the  lot.  Their  plan 
in  doing  this  was  to  select  the  number  of  basswood  fibres 


io6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

needed  to  make  the  mat  and  then  dye  half  this  number  for 
making  a  design  in  weaving.  They  experimented  with  border 
designs  on  paper  and  first  drew  these  with  curved  lines.  When 
they  tried  to  weave  the  design  into  the  mat,  however,  they 
found  that  they  had  to  remake  their  pattern  in  straight  lines  to 
accommodate  it  to  the  stiff  material. 

While  these  developments  in  making  utensils  of  pottery  and 
other  material  were  taking  place,  there  was  talk  of  how  certain 
animals  might  have  become  domesticated.  Their  own  idea  was 
that  people  would  bring  home  wounded  animals  for  their 
children  to  play  with.  It  was  suggested  that  young  animals 
would  be  even  nicer,  for  they  would  grow  up  with  the  children 
and  gradually  become  tame.  The  fact  was  brought  out  that  in 
a  herd  of  animals  one  of  the  pack  often  signals  to  the  others 
when  an  enemy  is  near.  This  suggested  to  the  children  that  the 
dogs  might  signal  to  men  in  the  same  way  and  so  be  good 
watchers.  Dogs  might  also  be  of  use  in  aiding  the  hunt.  Talk 
then  continued  of  the  flocks  people  would  accumulate  after 
they  once  began  to  domesticate  animals.  This  led  to  conjec- 
ture as  to  the  difference  this  might  make  in  the  home  of  the 
tribe,  as  grass  would  be  necessary  for  the  flocks.  In  addition, 
they  thought  the  sheep  would  need  a  great  deal  of  light  and 
air,  and  that  water  would  be  required.  They  accordingly  de- 
cided to  migrate.7 

Arrived  at  the  grassy  plain,  they  decided  to  be  a  small  tribe 
of  about  twelve  people  with  thirty  sheep.  They  thought  it  not 
unlikely  that  another  tribe  would  come  to  the  same  place, 
since  the  plain  would  feed  more  than  thirty  sheep.  When  this 
happened,  the  two  tribes  consolidated  and  arranged  to  unite 
their  forces,  since  less  men  would  be  needed  to  watch  the  sheep 
and  it  was  desirable  to  have  some  of  them  at  home  for  other 
work.  In  first  planning  the  consolidation  the  children  thought 
it  would  be  very  bad,  because  it  would  be  the  surest  way  to 
bring  about  a  fight.  They  said  that  if  the  two  tribes  ever  wanted 


*  For  their  migration  they  needed  tents  and  began  the  construction  of 
one  large  enough  to  hold  the  "tribe."  This  was  made  of  unbleached  muslin 
and,  when  finished,  was  taken  to  the  field  and  set  up  where  they  encamped 
for  the  morning. 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  107 

to  separate  they  could  not  tell  which  sheep  belonged  to  each 
tribe. 

In  one  year  the  experience  of  Abraham  and  Lot  was  one  of 
the  stories  told  them  to  illustrate  the  character  of  shepherd 
life  and  the  conditions  and  situations  likely  to  cause  difficulty. 
These  stories,  rewritten  by  the  group  either  working  together 
or  as  individuals,  were  often  printed  by  the  older  children  in 
large  size  type  on  the  school  press  and  became  the  basis  of  their 
study  of  language,  while  they  also  served  to  vivify  the  story 
they  were  dramatizing. 

STORY  OF  ABRAHAM  AND  LOT 

THE  LORD  THEIR  GOD  TOLD  ABRAHAM  TO  GO  OUT  OF 
THE  COUNTRY.  ABRAHAM  TOOK  LOT  WITH  HIM.  HE 
WAS  ABRAHAM'S  BROTHER'S  SON.  ABRAHAM  AND  LOT 
WENT  OUT  OF  THE  COUNTRY.  THEY  STAYED  TOGETHER 
FOR  A  WHILE,  THEN  THEY  PARTED.  THEY  WENT  ABOUT 
TOGETHER,  FINDING  PASTURE  FOR  THEIR  HERDS.  THEN 
THEY  PARTED  BECAUSE  THERE  WASN'T  ENOUGH  FOOD 
FOR  BOTH  HERDS  AND  THEY  COULD  NOT  TELL  THEIR 
ANIMALS  APART  AND  SO  THEY  QUARRELED.  THEN  ABRA- 
HAM TOLD  LOT  THAT  HE  COULD  CHOOSE  WHICH  WAY 
HE  WANTED  TO  GO.  HE  CHOSE  EAST.  THEN  ABRAHAM 
WENT  UP  ON  THE  MOUNTAINS.  THEN  GOD  TOLD  HIM 
TO  LOOK  EAST  AND  WEST  AND  NORTH  AND  SOUTH  AND 
SAID,  "I  WILL  GIVE  TO  YOU  ALL  THE  LAND  THAT  YOU 
SEE." 

The  roving  shepherd  tribe  now  settled  down  for  a  space  and 
after  its  consolidation  and  subsequent  readjustments  chose  for 
the  site  of  its  permanent  village  an  island  in  a  river,  a  situation 
thought  advantageous  because  of  the  protection  afforded  by 
the  river.  The  children  thought  that  the  animals  they  were 
hunting,  cattle,  horses,  small  deer,  would  not  frequent  a  settled 
place.  As  this  village  was  on  an  island,  the  habits  of  the  animals 
feeding  on  the  adjoining  plains  would  not  be  much  disturbed 
because  of  the  broad  expanse  of  running  water  between  the 
village  and  the  plains.  On  one  side  of  the  river  island  the  land 


io8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  low  and  the  children  called  it  "Riverland."  The  fact  was 
brought  out  that  the  island  was  formed  where  the  river  depos- 
ited the  fine  soil  that  it  carried  during  flood  times.  Here  wild 
wheat  was  growing,  which  the  women  of  the  village  gathered 
and  threshed  and  ground  for  food.  The  method  of  grinding  was 
left  as  a  problem  to  be  worked  out  after  they  had  done  more 
work  with  various  cereals  in  the  kitchen,  so  that  there  would 
be  a  present  reason  for  its  solution. 

The  earliest  differentiation  of  labor  was  brought  out  in  the 
occupations  in  the  new  homes.  The  old  hunters  confined  their 
energies  to  bringing  in  small  game  from  near  their  homes.  The 
young  hunters  were  the  main  dependence  of  the  tribe,  and  the 
women  and  children  gathered  moss  for  beds,  nuts  and  fruits 
for  food,  made  the  fireplaces,  and  kept  the  home  fires  burning. 

The  children  asked  who  would  be  the  most  powerful  people 
in  a  settled  agricultural  tribe  and  considered  the  question  im- 
portant. In  the  hunting  tribes  the  old  men  had  given  place  to 
the  younger  men  when  they  were  no  longer  able  to  take  the 
lead  in  a  hunt;  but  now  it  was  concluded  that  the  old  men 
would  have  the  most  influence,  as  they  would  have  the  largest 
experience  and  could  best  direct  the  younger  people. 

In  order  to  enable  the  children  to  comprehend  to  some  de- 
gree the  length  of  time  which  elapsed  between  even  slight 
improvements  in  the  ways  of  living  of  primitive  peoples  whose 
lives  they  were  relating,  they  were  told  something  of  the 
changes  of  climate  during  the  glacier  period  and  of  the  migra- 
tions of  the  animals.  The  length  of  time  was  made  clear  by 
referring  it  to  the  successive  generations  of  the  Ab  family,  for 
the  children  were  so  much  attached  to  the  name  that  it  was 
continued  from  age  to  age.  The  increase  in  the  number  of  the 
tribe  during  the  successive  generations  was  calculated,  adding 
by  threes,  fives,  and  tens.  The  children  added  up  to  one  hun- 
dred and  twenty  by  tens  and  were  then  shown  another  way  of 
saying  it,  i.e.,  twelve  tens  equal  one  hundred  and  twenty. 
Most  of  them  knew  this,  but  it  was  a  starting  point  for  further 
number  work,  and  they  then  added  together  numbers  of 
flocks  of  sheep,  or  tribes  of  people. 

The  next  advance  toward  civilization  was  the  making  of 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  109 

cloth  from  wool,  a  step  beyond  the  clothes  of  skin  or  feathers 
with  which,  until  now,  the  tribe  had  been  clothed.  Raw  wool 
was  given  to  the  children  to  examine  and  decide  how  the  fibres 
could  be  made  into  yarn.  When  they  had  pointed  out  the 
crinkles  which  would  hold  the  fibres  together,  they  spun  wool 
with  their  fingers  and  wound  it  on  a  stone.  The  weighted 
thread  twisted  round  their  fingers,  and  this,  coupled  with  what 
they  had  observed  about  spinning,  led  one  or  two  of  them  to 
suggest  something  that  would  spin  like  a  top.  They  then  were 
shown  pictures  of  a  spindle,  a  spindle  whorl,  and  so  on.  Thus 
the  primitive  way  of  spinning  and  its  gradual  development 
became  clear  to  them  as  they  reconstructed  and  gradually  im- 
proved the  primitive  tools.  Information  about  a  process  be- 
came knowledge  of  a  process  because  it  was  the  result  of  experi- 
ence. The  primitive  method  of  weaving  was  also  taken  up.  The 
way  of  carrying  on  this  experimentation  varied  with  teacher 
and  year.  Where  there  was  keen  interest  and  an  inventive  spirit, 
the  children  were  given  the  raw  wool,  and  the  beginning  stages 
of  carding  and  spinning  were  carried  through  in  the  classroom. 
Otherwise,  the  spinning  and  the  weaving  were  left  for  the 
period  in  the  textile  room.  This  flexible  and  helpful  coopera- 
tion between  specialist  and  group  teacher  made  quick  adjust- 
ments easy.  It  was  possible  to  "strike  while  the  iron  was  hot" 
or  to  leave  an  idea  such  as  the  spinning  or  weaving  to  be 
worked  out  more  slowly  and  in  detail  in  the  textile  studio. 

The  children  now  pictured  freely  other  tribes  than  their 
own,  living  near  and  far,  and  dramatized  meeting  with  them 
and  the  first  exchange  of  goods  such  as  wheat  for  baskets  or 
wool,  etc.  In  this  exchange  which  the  children  were  told  was 
called  "bartering,"  the  articles  made  by  them  were  used. 

In  the  on-going  story  different  groups  worked  out  the  dis- 
covery of  metals,  in  various  ways.  One  year  there  was  a  dis- 
cussion of  all  the  metals  known  to  the  children,  together  with 
their  uses.  Iron,  lead,  tin,  copper,  and  zinc  were  compared  as 
to  their  hardness,  weight,  and  the  amount  of  heat  required  to 
bring  them  to  the  melting  point.  Tin,  zinc,  and  lead  were 
melted  over  a  bunsen  burner  and  poured  into  water  to  cool. 
Since  all  the  children  had  handled  shot,  they  were  interested 


no  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  the  spherical  form  assumed  in  cooling  when  the  metal  was 
poured  from  a  height.  In  heating  the  metals  they  noted  the 
time  necessary  to  melt  lead  and  tin  and  learned  that  copper 
and  iron  wire  did  not  melt,  but  became  red  hot  and  could  be 
flattened  easily  by  hammering.  They  were  shown  metals  in  the 
natural  state  and  given  the  word  ore  as  a  general  term.  They 
discussed  how  metals  were  probably  discovered.  It  was  sug- 
gested that  people  may  have  found  melted  copper  in  the  char- 
coal on  the  hearth,  and  they  were  given  the  various  stories 
about  the  discovery  of  iron. 

The  next  step  was  the  construction  of  a  smelting  place  of 
clay  or  stones.  The  chief  problems  for  the  children  to  solve  in 
this  undertaking  were  the  position  of  the  chimney  and  the  ar- 
rangement for  proper  draught.  They  found  by  experience  the 
advantage  of  a  steady  draught,  how  to  protect  the  fire  from 
sudden  changes  of  wind,  and  that  hard  wood  makes  a  hotter 
fire  than  soft.  Further  experimentation  was  necessary  before 
they  could  understand  the  principle  of  draught.  With  the  help 
of  a  taper,  they  investigated  the  currents  of  air  in  the  room  and 
found  the  current  of  cold  air  from  the  windows  sinking  to  the 
floor  and  a  current  of  warm  air  leaving  the  room  at  the  top 
of  the  door.  They  then  appreciated  that  the  hot  air  in  their 
furnace  would  rise  and  understood  the  necessity  of  a  chimney 
for  an  intake  of  a  continuous  supply  of  cold  air.  Tin  and  zinc 
were  melted  successfully  in  a  few  of  the  best  constructed  smelt- 
ers, and  the  group,  now  quite  intelligent  as  to  the  principle, 
pooled  their  experience  and  labor  to  construct  a  larger  one  in 
which  ore  was  to  be  melted  for  the  tribe's  arrow-heads.  Discus- 
sion of  their  plan  for  this  made  it  clear  that  in  order  to  form 
the  melted  ore,  it  was  necessary  to  have  molds.  More  discus- 
sion followed  as  to  the  material  from  which  these  would  be 
made,  resulting  in  the  making  of  molds  of  clay  and  sand  into 
which  the  molten  lead  was  poured.8 

So  much  of  the  work  assumed  the  form  of  play  that  the  chil- 
dren were  not  conscious  of  the  knowledge  they  were  gaining. 
They  handled  several  kinds  of  metals,  both  in  the  ore  and  in 

*  Copper  was  melted  for  them  from  the  ore  by  means  of  a  blow  pipe  so 
they  would  understand  how  it  could  be  done. 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  111 

the  pure  state,  and  gained  a  knowledge  of  the  processes  by 
which  apparent  "heavy  stones,"  as  they  first  thought  them,  be- 
came changed  into  articles  of  great  utility.  Incidentally,  they 
learned  how  the  metals  unite  as  in  the  making  of  bronze. 
They  heated  copper  in  the  furnace  and  then,  in  order  to  make 
it  plastic,  submerged  it  in  water  and  learned  that  copper  unites 
with  the  air  in  the  process  of  heating  and  forms  a  black  scale 
which  comes  off  in  water. 

While  working  with  metals,  many  stories  were  told  illus- 
trating the  advantages  of  metals  and  the  value  that  would  be 
attached  to  a  knowledge  of  them  by  a  tribe  ignorant  of  how 
to  work  them.  In  order  to  demonstrate  this,  the  class  was 
divided  into  tribes,  each  tribe  selecting  what  seemed  to  be  a 
desirable  location  for  a  special  occupation.  One  tribe,  in- 
terested chiefly  in  raising  wheat,  selected  a  fertile  plain  near  a 
range  of  hills  where  they  could  get  some  ore  when  necessary. 
This  tribe  naturally  became  interested  in  the  way  in  which 
various  foods,  such  as  the  wild  cereals  found,  were  "domes- 
ticated" (the  word  cultivated  was  given  them)  and  the  relation 
of  climate  and  natural  environment  to  the  raising  of  these 
foods.  The  resulting  effects  upon  the  living  habits  of  the  people 
were  brought  out.  These  occupations  were  naturally  closely 
related  to  the  preparation  and  cooking  of  food  and  the  changes 
that  developed. 

Another  tribe,  interested  in  sheep  raising,  chose  a  valley  with 
grazing  plains  and  made  a  study  of  textiles  and  the  sources  of 
clothing.  The  metal  workers  picked  out  a  site  in  the  mountains 
near  a  river,  and  a  fourth  group  selected  the  seacoast  for  its 
abundance  of  fish,  shells,  and  pearls.  Each  tribe,  after  imagin- 
ing themselves  settled  in  their  new  homes,  began  to  perfect  the 
one  line  of  labor  chosen  and  to  decide  how  they  could  obtain 
other  necessities  of  life.  The  tribe  along  the  seashore  needed 
boats  and  endeavored  to  think  out  some  method  of  making 
them.  The  tribe  raising  wheat  used  first  a  bent  twig  dragged 
over  the  ground  as  a  means  of  loosening  the  soil,  then  thought 
of  taming  oxen  and  training  them  to  drag  an  improved  plow; 
they  also  worked  out  a  flail  for  threshing  grain.  The  shepherds 
decided  on  the  shelter  for  themselves  and  their  flocks  and  dis- 


iis>  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

cussed  the  raising  of  sheep.  Each  tribe  decided  the  number  of 
families  they  would  have  and  the  number  of  persons  in  a  fam- 
ily. Most  of  the  class  objected  to  having  any  children  in  the 
family,  only  one  announcing  his  intention  to  have  a  "nice  com- 
fortable family  of  five." 

The  various  tribes  next  sought  some  method  of  trading,  or 
bartering,  in  order  to  secure  the  products  of  others.  They  at- 
tempted to  find  some  standard  of  value,  but  found  it  difficult 
not  to  rate  highest  some  rare  shells  which  the  people  from  the 
seashore  brought  to  trade  for  wheat  or  sheep.  A  few  children 
showed  some  skill  in  driving  a  bargain. 

Intercourse  between  tribes  for  the  sake  of  barter  involved  the 
subject  of  transportation.  Most  of  the  children  had  so  little 
idea  of  distance  that  it  was  necessary  to  build  up  something  of 
a  background  of  experience.  They  were  asked  how  long  it 
would  require  to  walk  the  longest  distance  they  knew  definitely 
—from  the  school,  downtown.  After  much  discussion  of  their 
own  and  their  friends'  experience,  they  finally  arrived  at  the 
distance  that  could  be  walked  in  an  hour  and  calculated  the 
distance  that  might  be  covered  in  a  day  or  in  a  week.  With 
this  idea  of  average  distance  reckoned  in  time,  the  children 
returned  to  their  tribe  and  its  situation.  After  more  thinking 
they  found  that,  with  burdens  to  carry  and  a  way  that  led  not 
over  smooth  roads,  but  over  mountains  and  plains  covered  with 
vegetation,  a  new  estimate  of  how  far  the  tribe  could  carry  their 
produce  for  exchange  would  be  necessary.  Of  course,  the  idea 
of  animals  as  beasts  of  burden  occurred  to  all  the  children,  and 
they  spent  some  time  investigating  the  different  types  of  ani- 
mals that  could  be  so  used.  The  typical  burden-bearing  animals 
were  cut  from  paper,  and  a  study  made  of  their  habits.  As  a 
result,  they  concluded  that  all  burden-bearing  animals  are 
"grass-eating  ruminants." 

A  dramatic  summing  up  in  story  form  of  the  social  organi- 
zation of  the  Bronze  Age  completed  this  year's  work.  It  may 
not  be  necessary  to  remind  the  reader  that  at  the  same  time 
that  this  dramatic  study  of  primitive  life  and  experimentation 
in  its  ways  of  living  were  going  on,  the  same  materials  and 
similar  though  modern  tools  and  ideas  were  being  used  in  the 


POOLING  THEIR  EXPERIENCE  AND   LABOR  TO 
CONSTRUCT  A  LARGER  SMELTER 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  113 

shop,  kitchen,  studio,  music  room,  and  garden.  Here  also,  em- 
phasis was  laid  on  the  relation  of  materials  to  their  uses,  the 
value  of  the  inventive  attitude,  of  designs  and  plans,  and  the 
r61es  of  the  different  forms  of  communication  in  all  their  ac- 
tivities. Museums  and  books  were  constantly  used  as  sources 
so  that  the  children  in  no  way  felt  out-of-joint  with  their  pres- 
ent. Instead,  they  gained  a  new  point  of  view  as  to  how  the 
present  had  come  to  be.  The  relation  of  the  sort  of  place  they 
lived  in  to  the  type  of  thing  they  did  grew  clear  and  definite  in 
their  minds  as  they  pictured  the  physical  setting  needed  for  rais- 
ing sheep  and  cattle,  or  as  a  source  for  their  clay  or  coveted 
metals.  As  each  phase  of  industry  developed,  attention  concen- 
trated upon  its  natural  habitat,  and  as  one  occupation  suc- 
ceeded another,  the  children  traveled  in  imagination  till  they 
found  the  locality  especially  suitable.  Meantime  in  their  sand 
and  clay  maps  each  new  environment  was  added  to  those  pre- 
viously brought  up,  until  all  the  main  features  of  physiographic 
structure  were  both  introduced  and  placed  in  their  relation- 
ships to  one  another.  The  child  thus  had  a  picture  of  a  typical 
section  of  the  earth's  surface,  of  the  way  in  which  its  various 
features—mountains,  uplands,  river  valleys,  and  seas— connect 
with  one  another  and  with  the  activities  of  human  life.  The 
large  amount  of  imaginative  abstraction  and  arrangement  of 
the  natural  features  of  their  self-constructed  sand  maps,  so  that 
they  were  suitable  for  the  changing  sequence  of  their  activities, 
proved  an  intellectual  exercise  of  great  importance. 


SUMMARY 

This  natural  setting  of  man  and  his  occupations,  the  basis 
of  their  future,  was  clothed  with  human  significance  to  these 
little  actors  of  primitive  life  as  they  imaginatively  wandered 
in  the  sand-box  hills  and  valleys  of  their  tribal  habitation.  In 
the  process,  many  scientific  facts  of  geology,  of  chemistry,  of 
physics,  or  of  biology,  found  their  way  into  the  sinews  of  their 
intellectual  wings. 

In  addition  to  such  a  view  of  geography  in  a  human  setting 
gained  through  constant  dramatization  of  imagined  situations 


n4  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

and  behavior,  these  children  had  an  early  glimpse  into  the  be- 
ginnings of  the  social  organizations  of  tribal  life,  in  its  various 
stages  of  development.  Certain  definite  associations  were  built 
up  between  people,  their  social  life,  and  the  land  they  occu- 
pied. Ideas  were  gained  as  to  a  gradual  progress  in  man's  way 
of  living— his  forms  of  shelter,  his  clothing,  and  kinds  of  food 
as  well  as  of  the  part  that  invention  and  discovery  had  played 
in  this  development. 

As  the  year  drew  to  its  close  the  children  summarized  in  writ- 
ten records  and  dramatic  plays  what  the  experience  had  made 
real  to  them.  Facts  about  the  gradual  development  of  better 
ways  of  getting  food,  finding  shelter,  and  the  making  of  cloth- 
ing, of  tools,  of  the  means  of  defense,  and  the  attendant  dis- 
coveries and  inventions  were  thus  brought  out.  The  records 
specified  many  of  the  different  materials  found  on  the  earth 
which  could  be  used  in  their  natural  state,  also  those  which 
must  be  made  over  or  refined.  The  general  conclusion  was  that, 
man's  necessity  was  the  cause  for  change,  and  "using  your 
head"  was  the  means  of  invention. 

The  long  stretch  of  time  between  the  imagined  scene  of  the 
study  and  the  actual  present  seemed  to  cause  no  difficulty.  It 
was  not  difficult  for  these  children  to  doff  their  roles  as  mem- 
bers of  a  primitive  tribe  and  don  their  parts  as  children  of  a 
Chicago  school  in  1900.  The  needs  and  therefore  the  interests 
and  the  duties  of  the  wood-gatherer,  the  fire-tender,  the  shelter 
or  clothing-maker,  or  the  cook  remain  the  same  from  one  age 
to  another.  It  is  the  art  of  living  that  changes  and  progresses. 
This  the  children  seemed  to  recognize  in  all  phases  of  their 
work  and  play,  whether  constructive  or  experimental.  Their 
activities  were  real  and  continuing,  because  they  answered  the 
genuine,  ever  present  needs  of  life. 

The  beginnings  of  many  kinds  of  activity  challenged  each 
child  to  experiment  along  lines  of  his  own  interests  and  choos- 
ing, to  make,  to  decorate,  to  contrive,  and  to  invent.  There 
were  rafts  and  dugouts  to  be  made  for  the  migrating  tribe;  bows 
and  arrows  or  other  weapons  must  be  strung  and  fashioned 
or  traps  made  for  the  sabre-toothed  tiger  or  other  dangerous 
animals.  A  way  must  be  found  to  harvest  the  good  wild  wheat 


INVENTION  AND  DISCOVERY  115 

of  the  river  land  and  then  to  grind  it.  A  use  had  been  found 
for  the  newly  discovered  clay,  and  ideas  were  many  for  making 
bowls  and  utensils  of  all  kinds.  The  potter's  wheel  was  redis- 
covered. The  cooperative  effort  of  the  shop  director  and  the 
young  inventors  produced  a  rude,  first  potter's  wheel.  New  dis- 
coveries led  to  new  needs  and  these  to  new  inventions,  and 
made  increasing  demand  for  skill— skill  in  the  arts  of  construc- 
tion and  communication.  What  each  one  did  was  never  fully 
appreciated  until  it  was  passed  on  to  others,  and  what  one 
received  from  others  frequently  had  to  be  tested  to  be  ap- 
proved. Language  was  useful.  One  must  write  as  well  as  speak, 
must  read  as  well  as  listen  in  order  to  share  more  widely  and 
in  turn  profit  by  such  sharing.  It  was  necessary  to  know  how 
to  count  and  measure  and  use  the  necessary  tools  in  order  to 
put  ideas  into  concrete  forms  that  were  satisfactory  and  beau- 
tiful. 

All  this  was  true  of  the  fine  as  well  as  of  the  useful  arts;  the 
beginnings  of  the  former  naturally  grew  out  of  a  finer  and 
deeper  appreciation  of  the  latter,  and  a  basic  and  fundamental 
relationship  between  the  two  was  established.  In  their  creative 
work  in  music,  as  in  art,  the  influence  of  this  imaginative  life 
of  primitive  times  was  most  marked  and  was  used  as  far  as 
possible.  The  function  of  time  in  producing  melody  grew  plain 
to  the  children  as  they  listened  to  the  rhythmic  beat  of  the  tom- 
tom and  caught  the  meaning  of  a  metrical  succession  of  notes 
all  on  one  pitch. 

This  imagined  and  dramatized  story  of  man's  long  climb 
to  better  ways  of  living  brought  the  children,  at  the  end  of 
the  year,  close  to  the  period  when  authentic  history  begins. 
Through  being  actors  in  their  own  retelling  of  the  probable 
story  of  civilization  they  had  gained  a  background  of  experi- 
ence for  the  next  year's  continued  study  of  the  actual  records 
of  specific  peoples.9 

There  is  now  perhaps  too  great  emphasis  in  many  schools 
on  the  "Here  and  Now"  principle  in  selecting  the  constructive 

»  Much  of  the  material  In  this  chapter  is  taken  from  John  Dewey,  "His- 
torical Developments  of  Invention  and  Occupation,  Central  Principles," 
Elementary  School  Record,  1900. 


ii6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

work  of  small  children  from  the  confused  and  complicated 
modern  environment.  Unreflective  selection  in  reproductive 
play  may  include  modern  sky-scrapers,  ocean  liners,  part  of  a 
National  Exposition,  or  the  ferry-boats  of  New  York  harbor. 
This  chapter  points  out  in  detail  that  a  skilled  adult  mind 
must  operate  in  such  selection.  It  also  presents  an  approach 
which  will  leave  the  child  in  full  possession  of  his  inventive 
ability  to  be  used  in  developing  the  simple  activities  and  under- 
takings which  he  sees  have  been  and  are  essential  in  social  re- 
lations and  organizations. 


CHAPTER   VII 

PROGRESS     THROUGH     EXPLORATION 
AND     DISCOVERY 

GROUP  v  (AGE  EIGHT) 

JLHE  homeroom  for  Group  V,  medium  in  size  with  southern 
exposure,  was  equipped  with  a  geographic  sand  tray,  black- 
board space,  table,  and  closet.  Because  of  the  constant  stream 
of  visitors  each  room  was  supplied  with  extra  chairs,  and  the 
mental  picture  of  every  classroom  should  include  a  number  of 
adults  looking  on.1  The  group  was  under  the  direction  of  one 
of  the  instructors  in  science,  with  a  teacher  in  history  cooper- 
ating.2 The  occupational  work  centered  around  the  trading 
and  maritime  activities  of  the  Phoenicians,  their  exploration 
of  the  Mediterranean  basin,  and  commerce  with  its  various 
outstanding  settlements,  and  then  moved,  on  to  the  larger 
topic  of  world  exploration  and  discovery.  It  must  be  remem- 
bered that  as  each  group  passed  from  home  room  to  shop,  to 
laboratory,  to  studio,  to  music  room,  the  things  they  did  or 
expressed,  related  to  or  illustrated  as  far  as  possible  the  activi- 
ties that  went  on  in  the  historical  study  they  were  dramatizing. 
In  previous  years  these  children  had  gained  a  working  knowl- 
edge of  some  of  the  occupations  and  social  relationships  of 
present  life  and  an  idea  of  how  the  present  had  come  to 
be,  through  their  study  of  primitive  life.  They  had  seen 
that  any  change  of  the  physical  situation  of  a  tribal  group 
necessitated  and  conditioned  a  revision  of  its  social  program 
and  a  redistribution  of  individual  duties.  Further,  it  was  only 
through  the  invention  of  devices  which  made  for  better  living 
conditions,  more  efficient  weapons  for  defense  and  the  getting 

1  As  a  rule  the  children  were  astonishingly  unconscious  of  being  observed, 

2  Mary  Hill;  Laura  Runyon. 

117 


n8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  food,  that  man  had  come  to  a  more  settled  and  secure  way 
of  living. 

The  choice  of  subject-matter  for  this  year  had  been,  as  for 
all  years,  the  result  of  much  experimentation  in  order  to  find 
the  type  of  civilization  which  possesses  a  progressive  quality, 
an  on-going,  out-flowing,  and  developing  way  of  living  which 
gave  a  "go"  to  the  story,  linked  it  with  the  previous  study, 
carried  it  on  to  the  next  step,  and  at  the  same  time  satisfied  the 
spirit  of  romance  and  adventure  which  is  rife  at  this  age.  In 
one  year  a  detailed  study  of  the  American  Indians,  their  in- 
ventions and  customs,  was  followed  by  a  study  of  the  discovery 
of  the  Indians  by  the  white  men.  Then  came  some  of  the  ex- 
plorations which  made  known  the  form  of  the  earth  and  its 
larger  geographical  features  and  forces.  While  satisfactory  in 
some  respects,  the  Indian  civilization  is  so  highly  static  in  its 
type  that  an  advance  into  the  next  era  of  culture  was  not  easily 
made. 

THE   STUDY   OF   THE  PHOENICIAN   CIVILIZATION  3 

The  Phoenicians  were  finally  chosen  for  the  study  of  this 
year  because  the  fixed  habitat  of  this  people  was  similar  to  the 
imaginary  location  of  the  tribe  of  metal  workers  of  the  previ- 
ous year,  and  yet  presented  conditions  that  were  different  from 
and  unfavorable  to  the  earlier  life  experience  of  the  tribe,  up 
to  this  time  a  nomadic  pastoral  people  living  on  a  plain  be- 
yond the  mountains.  New  problems  would  have  to  be  met  and 
solved  in  this  unfamiliar  environment.  In  this  year,  also,  when 
the  children  began  a  serious  use  of  the  symbols  of  reading,  writ- 
ing, and  numbers,  a  study  of  the  Phoenician  civilization  that 
had  spread  these  conveniences  through  the  then  known  world 
(the  Mediterranean  basin),  seemed  particularly  appropriate. 
It  also  furnished  the  link  between  the  life  of  primitive  man, 
as  developed  in  the  previous  year  and  the  following  age  of 
discovery  in  the  world's  history,  when  knowledge  of  the  earth's 
form  and  some  conception  of  its  physical  forces  were  gained. 

» Laura  Louise  Runyan,  The  Teaching  of  Elementary  History  in  the 
Dewey  School,  University  of  Chicago,  June,  1906.  This  account  is  indebted 
to  Miss  Runyan  for  extracts. 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          119 

For  a  tribe  of  people  like  die  Phoenicians,  with  the  sea  in 
front  and  mountains  behind,  agriculture  and  flocks  and  herds 
were  impossible  as  a  means  of  support.  The  conditions  had  to 
yield  a  means  of  subsistence,  however,  if  this  tribe  were  to 
continue.  How  this  could  be  done  was  the  first  problem  given 
the  children.  Out  of  their  past  experience  with  ancient  peoples, 
they  themselves  suggested  that  the  sea  might  furnish  fish  and 
the  mountains,  metals  and  timber,  and  that  these,  if  means  of 
conveyance  were  found,  might  be  exchanged  with  other  tribes 
for  wheat  or  wool.  After  much  further  discussion  the  group 
wrote  out  a  description  of  their  physical  situation  and  plans 
for  the  future.  This  took  the  form  of  a  recital  by  various  mem- 
bers of  the  group,  telling  how  they  had  come  in  their  flight 
from  some  unfavorable  situation  to  a  physical  situation  similar 
to  that  of  the  Phoenician  coast. 

The  children,  in  their  role  of  Phoenician  traders,  met  the 
problems  and  inconveniences  similar  to  those  found  in  the 
earliest  form  of  trade  by  barter.  As  indicated  in  the  children's 
own  records,  a  need  arose  for  persons  able  to  make  usable  ar- 
ticles from  raw  materials  and  for  those  who  exchange  these 
articles  for  others  needed  but  which  cannot  be  produced.  In 
such  relationships  the  child  sees  the  need  of  the  middleman. 
A  dramatic  picture  of  these  early  bartering  relationships  and 
of  their  development  into  trade  was  imagined  by  the  children. 
They  imagined  themselves  Phoenician  sailors  landing  at  some 
barbaric  settlement  of  the  African  coast,  and  they  saw  the  prob- 
able events  which  took  place.  The  sailors,  laying  down  their 
goods,  would  retire  to  their  vessels.  The  barbarians  would 
creep  out  of  the  bushes,  inspect,  and  then  place  on  the  sand 
their  produce,  shells,  ivory,  or  whatnot,  and  in  turn,  withdraw. 
Then  came  the  inspection  by  the  sailors  of  the  offers  made  and 
acceptance  or  refusal  of  part  or  all  of  the  exchange  and,  in  case 
of  refusal,  the  second  chance  given  the  natives  to  increase  their 
offerings. 

Such  a  scene  carries  with  it  a  spirit  of  adventure,  a  tang  of 
excitement;  it  can  illustrate  how  cupidity  or  generosity  would 
develop,  how  gradually  the  confidence  necessary  for  a  perma- 
nent trading  relationship  can  be  established.  These  transac- 


120  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

tions  also  little  by  little  establish  the  reputation  for  probity 
of  the  sailors  at  home  with  the  merchants  who  had  entrusted 
them  with  goods  for  sale. 


THE   PRACTICAL  APPROACH  TO   MATHEMATICS 

To  carry  on  their  work  successfully  the  first  merchant  and 
trader  would  need  to  invent,  adopt,  or  adapt  a  system  of  meas- 
urements and  weights.  He  would  need  a  numerical  system  and 
a  system  of  records;  he  must  plan  how  to  utilize  the  labor  of 
others,  how  to  combine  with  others,  and  how  to  exclude  others 
from  his  field  of  labor.  Through  enacting  their  roles  these  chil- 
dren came  to  appreciate  the  tasks  of  these  first  carriers  of  the 
world's  commerce,  and  how  a  system  probably  evolved  by  which 
the  products  of  a  people  could  be  measured  and  valued,  and 
the  records  of  such  transactions  kept.  This  gave  reality  to  the 
point  of  view  that  the  origin  of  writing,  of  number,  and  of  the 
system  of  weights  and  measures  grew  out  of  an  attempt  to  solve 
the  problem  similar  to  this  imaginative  one.  This  problem  was 
formulated  by  asking,  How  could  a  merchant  trader  from  the 
Phoenician  tribe  tell  the  value  of  his  merchandise  as  compared 
with  that  of  other  merchants?  How  could  he  record  future  ex- 
change of  merchandise?  Only  a  word  is  necessary  to  link  this 
situation  with  the  rdles  of  the  salesman,  the  commercial  trav- 
eler, or  the  advertising  agent  of  the  present. 

The  question  of  records  seemed  easiest,  and  the  child  who 
acted  as  trader  at  the  time  devised  his  own  system  of  records. 
This  was  usually  a  picture  of  the  article  exchanged  with  marks 
by  each  to  indicate  the  number.  Thus  a  trade  of  fish  for  wheat 
was  indicated  by  a  bag  and  a  fish  opposite  each  other,  with 
marks  to  indicate  the  number  exchanged.  When,  however, 
other  products  were  used  in  quantity,  and  it  was  necessary  to 
select  and  name  a  part  from  the  whole  quantity,  a  more  def- 
inite system  was  demanded. 

The  ability  to  initiate  solutions  of  the  problems  which  thus 
arose  varied  with  different  groups  of  children  and  with  the  in- 
dividuals within  the  group.  Parts  of  the  body  as  means  of  meas- 
urement were  suggested.  The  distance  from  the  end  of  the 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          121 

thumb  to  the  first  joint  and  the  span  of  the  hand  were  used 
as  units  of  measure.  The  full  length  of  the  fore-arm  and  the 
pace  were  also  used.  The  transition  from  a  somewhat  irregular 
unit  to  an  adopted  unit  could  usually  be  obtained  from  the 
class.  For  example,  the  distance  from  the  tip  of  the  middle  fin- 
ger to  the  elbow  was  used  as  a  unit  for  measuring  cloth  and 
called  a  "cubit."  After  this  had  been  used  in  many  measure- 
ments, a  story  was  told  of  a  Phoenician  who  went  to  trade  in 
cloth  and,  noticing  that  the  men  in  the  market  place  were  of 
different  heights,  selected  the  man  with  the  longest  arm  from 
whom  to  purchase  cloth.  The  other  merchants  noticed  this  and 
called  a  meeting  to  decide  what  should  be  done.  At  this  point 
the  class  was  called  upon  for  suggestions.  One  child  thought 
that  the  shortest  man's  arm  might  be  taken  as  a  standard  and 
others  stop  short  of  the  elbow  in  their  measurements;  others 
thought  that  the  tallest  man's  arm  might  be  used  and  the  little 
man  measure  above  the  elbow.  When,  however,  some  one  sug- 
gested that  a  middle-sized  man  be  selected,  and  the  rest  get 
sticks  just  the  length  of  his  cubit,  all  agreed  that  this  would  be 
the  best  plan.  The  next  most  apparent  need  was  a  unit  of 
weight.  In  group  discussion  they  decided  that  water  would 
make  the  most  convenient  and  common  thing  to  use  and  talked 
over  ways  and  means  of  making  a  standard.  Each  child  finally 
made  and  paraffined  a  square  box  the  size  of  his  smallest  linear 
unit— the  distance  from  the  tip  of  the  thumb  to  the  first  joint. 
This  was  filled  with  water,  weighed,  and  taken  as  the  standard 
unit  of  weight. 

At  this  moment  of  partial  solution  of  their  immediate  prob- 
lem as  traders,  namely,  that  of  developing  a  practical  method 
of  barter,  the  children's  interest  was  easily  directed  to  the  stand- 
ards and  tables  of  measurement  used  today.  For  the  shop  they 
made  their  own  foot  rulers  and  yardsticks.  Many  spent  spare 
time  at  home  devising  scales  which  were  then  tested,  improved, 
and  reconstructed  in  the  shop.  The  laboratory  scales  were  in 
demand  to  get  the  proper  amount  of  clay  for  ounce,  two-ounce, 
half-pound  or  pound  weights.  These  were  molded  to  the  form 
that  each  child  thought  most  serviceable.  Liquid  measures— 
half-bushel,  gallon,  quart,  pint,  and  gill— were  constructed  and 


122  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

their  relations  determined  by  measuring.  The  numerical  sym- 
bols were  improved  from  time  to  time.  The  children  were 
shown  primitive  systems  of  counting.  One  child  introduced  a 
diagonal  line  across  four  vertical  marks  to  indicate  five,  the 
common  method  of  tallying  in  their  games.  Another  child  came 
one  day  and  said  she  knew  a  new  way  to  count  and  put  on  the 
board  the  Roman  numerals  to  X.  The  class  was  then  interested 
in  seeing  how  IV  could  indicate  one  less  and  VI  one  more,  than 
V;  that  X  was  two  V's,  and  that  less  or  more  than  X  was  indi- 
cated by  the  position  of  the  I  to  the  right  or  left  of  the  X.  The 
pleasure  of  the  class  when  they  comprehended  the  significance 
of  this  device  proved  how  much  a  matter  for  thought  a  number 
system  had  been  to  them. 

INTEREST   IN   WRITTEN   AND   DRAMATIC  EXPRESSION 

Concurrent  with  this  construction  of  a  number  system,  the 
need  for  a  more  accurate  method  of  written  record  than  that 
of  rude  pictures  was  felt.  The  use  of  a  part  of  a  picture  to  stand 
for  the  whole,  then  a  sign  to  stand  for  a  sound  resulting  in  an 
alphabet  was  worked  out  with  suggestions  from  the  teacher* 
The  arbitrariness  of  this  system  was  reflected  in  two  alphabets 
invented  by  the  children.  All  this  gave  meaning  to  the  reading 
and  writing  which  were  emphasized  in  this  year.  The  symbols 
of  social  intercourse  worked  out  naturally  centered  about  the 
trader  and  his  experiences.  The  child,  at  this  stage,  still  chiefly 
interested  in  himself,  was,  of  course,  the  trader.  The  method 
adopted  was  that  of  imaginary  travels  for  exploration  and 
trade.  Story-telling  and  dramatization  were  used  as  in  the  pre- 
ceding year.  The  events  narrated  at  the  beginning  of  the  year 
were  chiefly  confined  to  the  experiences  of  the  past  year:  the 
trader  had  met  with  strange  peoples,  friendly  or  hostile;  he 
had  had  to  make  his  wants  known  by  signs;  he  had  asked  only 
for  things  he  knew  about,  and  hence  his  increase  in  knowledge 
had  been  slight.  As  the  year  went  on,  however,  more  and  more 
content  was  apparent  in  the  stories  of  the  children,  and  ac- 
counts of  new  processes  and  devices  of  manufacture  were  re- 
lated or  demonstrated.  The  physical  features  of  their  play  coun- 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          123 

try  were  pictured  in  map  or  sand-box.  The  high,  rock  coast 
with  its  stretch  of  shore  along  the  sea  was  planned  and  built; 
lead  and  iron  ore  were  cleverly  hidden  in  the  clefts  of  the 
mountains  to  be  discovered  later;  and  miniature  forests  of  oak, 
pine,  and  other  trees  were  set  up  for  the  forests.  The  aid  of  the 
art  teacher  was  sought  in  developing  the  background  and  set- 
ting for  the  scene.  To  give  an  impression  of  distance  to  the  re- 
gion, plain  blue  wall  paper  was  tacked  on  a  frame  as  large  as 
the  sand  box.  On  this  the  children  drew  a  landscape  showing 
a  continuation  of  that  they  had  planned  in  the  sand  box.  The 
blue  background  served  as  the  sky,  clouds  were  added  with 
chalk. 

MANUAL   TRAINING 

The  main  purpose  of  the  work  was  to  stimulate  the  chil- 
dren's minds  to  study  and,  so  far  as  they  were  able,  to  seek 
solutions  for  certain  of  the  problems  of  the  Phoenician  type 
of  civilization  that  must  be  solved  in  order  that  progress  in 
comfort  and  convenience  in  living  might  be  made.  Thus  the 
children  carried  out  inquiry  into  the  origin  of  products  and 
the  development  of  processes  which  have  transformed  modes 
of  living  from  primitive  crude  forms  to  the  present.  The  sort 
of  houses  that  they  as  a  Phoenician  tribe  should  build  was  dis- 
cussed, and  it  was  decided  that  stone  might  be  used,  since  there 
was  such  an  abundance.  The  question  of  how  It  could  be  made 
to  stick  together  was  brought  up  and  led  to  a  discussion  of  lime 
in  its  native  state  and  its  use  as  mortar.  The  children  then 
turned  into  masons,  made  mortar  boxes,  trowels,  and  a  sand 
sieve  in  the  shop.  Lime  was  procured,  and  experiments  were 
carried  on  to  demonstrate  the  effect  of  water  upon  it.  Mortar 
was  made  and  used  to  build  the  walls  of  a  typical  house  of  that 
time  and  region.  A  bridge  was  necessary  to  cross  a  ravine; 
bricks  were  made  from  clay;  and  the  bridge  built  in  the  form 
of  a  keystone  arch. 

Some  difficulty  was  found  in  making  the  sides  of  the  stone 
walls  straight.  How  this  could  be  done  in  real  building  was  the 
next  inquiry,  and  the  principle  of  the  plumb-line  was  worked 
out.  The  globe  was  used  to  show  how  the  plumb-line  appeared 


124  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

with  relation  to  it,  and  it  was  found  that  "right  angles  to  the 
surface"  would  describe  it.  "Up*'  was  then  defined  as  away 
from  the  center,  and  "down"  as  toward  the  center.  This  was 
connected  with  the  study  of  weights,  and  gravitation  was  de- 
fined by  the  children  as  a  force  pulling  toward  the  center  of 
the  earth.  Weight  represented  the  strength  of  this  pull  on  the 
substance.  "But  hot  air  goes  up"  was  brought  up  immediately 
as  a  contradiction  of  the  law  of  gravitation.  After  discussion 
and  experimentation  it  was  concluded  that  those  things  that 
are  heavier,  such  as  cold  air,  force  others,  such  as  hot  air,  out 
of  their  way.  Liquids,  which  move  easily,  are  pushed  aside  by 
moving  air  or  by  liquids  of  greater  density.  The  children  were 
helped  to  relate  this  fact  to  the  currents  of  air  and  water  on  the 
earth  and  to  develop  something  of  a  conception  of  air  pressure. 
They  were  reminded  of  the  weight  of  still  air  and  their  fre- 
quent experience  of  leaning  against  a  strong  wind. 

Gravitation  was  taken  up  from  different  points  of  view.  The 
earth  as  a  whole  was  compared  with  a  magnet.  The  attraction 
of  all  things  toward  the  center  of  the  earth  was  defined  as  due 
to  gravitation,  and  the  effect  is  weight.  A  barometric  tube  was 
examined  to  show  that  air  has  weight,  and  that  its  pressure  is 
its  attraction  to  the  earth  by  gravitation.  Some  of  the  children 
seemed  to  doubt  that  it  was  air  that  supported  the  mercury  in 
the  tube.  They  were  allowed  to  experiment.  A  small  tube  was 
exhausted  by  filling  one  side  of  a  "U"  tube  with  mercury.  The 
end  was  then  sealed  and  the  mercury  allowed  to  flow  out  at  the 
open  end  until  the  pressure  in  the  pan  sustained  the  weight  in 
the  closed  tube.  They  were  told  that  mercury  was  about  four- 
teen times  as  heavy  as  water  and  asked  to  calculate  the  height 
of  a  column  of  water  that  could  be  supported  by  air.  A  water 
wheel  was  discussed  and  its  use  seen  to  depend  upon  the  weight 
of  water  and  the  weight  referred  to  as  the  attraction  of  gravi- 
tation. 

One  year  the  children  made  a  large  map  as  an  aid  to  story- 
telling. The  Mediterranean  Sea  was  painted  in  blue  enamel 
on  the  bottom  of  a  galvanized  iron  pan.  The  surrounding 
countries  were  then  built  up  in  plaster  of  Paris,  papier-miche, 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          125 

and  putty,  and  were  covered  with  enamel  paint  in  shades 
of  brown  and  green  to  distinguish  the  mountains  from  the 
plains.  The  sea  was  filled  with  water,  and  each  trader  loaded 
his  boat  with  merchandise  and  sailed  it  to  the  place  where  he 
expected  to  trade.  Each  captain  must  know  his  country  and 
something  of  its  people.  As  a  search  for  tin  took  these  Phoeni- 
cian sailors  as  far  as  England,  the  development  of  navigation 
was  discussed  so  far  as  the  interest  and  the  ingenuity  of  the 
children  seemed  to  make  it  worth  while. 

In  the  shop,  a  rude  boat  was  made.  The  principle  of  how  to 
overcome  friction  as  much  as  possible  by  a  pointed  bow  and 
stern  was  worked  out,  and  the  boat  contrasted  with  the  flat 
one  made  the  year  before  by  burning  a  dugout.  The  question  of 
how  a  sail  worked,  especially  in  sailing  against  the  wind,  was 
solved.  In  the  science  laboratory  the  constructive  imagination 
of  the  children  was  stimulated  to  suggest  ways  in  which  the  diffi- 
culties of  these  first  wanderers  might  be  overcome.  They  saw 
that  keeping  an  accurate  record  of  a  route  for  others  involved 
all  the  difficulties  of  map  making  by  observation  and  instru- 
ments and  the  problem  of  how  to  secure  a  record  of  distance 
traveled  on  the  sea.  For  the  latter  the  children  first  suggested 
anchoring  a  buoy  to  which  a  string  was  attached  which  could  be 
measured  on  the  way  back.  From  this  they  were  led  to  the  idea 
of  measuring  space  by  rate  of  speed  and  then  to  the  idea  of  logs 
and  knots  as  indicating  the  number  of  leagues  traveled  per  hour 
by  a  sailing  vessel.  Sounding,  as  a  means  of  finding  the  right 
depth  of  water,  introduced  the  fathom  or  the  full  stretch  of  a 
man's  arms. 

In  one  year  under  another  teacher  the  study  4  included  a 
migration  (by  the  class)  to  Greece,  where  a  highly  different 
civilization  from  the  Phoenician  was  in  progress.  Here,  the  ag- 
ricultural conditions  and  peasant  life  were  described  as  given 
by  Hesiod  in  Words  and  Days,  The  relation  of  the  mountain- 
ous character  of  Greece  to  the  individual  development  of  states 


*  University  Record,  Vol.  Ill,  No.  32,  Nov.  4,  1898,  p.  201.  Teacher, 
Katherine  Camp. 


126  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  noted.  The  early  Cretan  civilization  also  holds  possibili- 
ties to  show  the  growth  of  early  communal  and  political  life.  In 
contrast  to  the  dynamic  character  of  this  and  the  early  Greek 
civilization,  the  Chaldean,  Assyrian,  and  the  Egyptian,  while 
containing  many  possibilities,  were  by  reason  of  natural  geo- 
graphic situation  too  static  in  character 'to  make  the  story  of 
the  entire  human  race  continuous  and  swiftly-moving  enough 
to  hold  the  attention  and  interest  of  this  age. 

The  constructive  work  of  the  group  was  in  accord  with  the 
many  activities  of  the  historical  drama  they  were  reconstruct- 
ing. In  his  study  and  reproduction  of  typical  industries  or  oc- 
cupations, constant  use  was  made  of  the  child's  power  to  initi- 
ate, to  take  crude  material,  and  to  find,  as  the  early  peoples 
did,  the  way  and  the  means  of  fashioning  needed  results.  He 
became  familiar  with  the  typical  forms  of  all  materials  used 
by  or  about  him,  wood  before  it  is  dressed  into  lumber,  ores, 
or  stones,  wool,  and  food.  In  carrying  out  some  industrial  proc- 
ess, chosen  for  its  interest  to  the  children  and  its  typical  social 
nature,  general  ideas  of  the  relation  of  heat  to  the  solid,  liquid, 
and  gaseous  state  of  matter  were  developed.  Crystallization  and 
the  beginning  of  the  study  of  combustion,  because  of  the  neces- 
sity for  its  control,  were  carried  into  the  form  of  questions  to 
be  answered  by  definite  experiments.  From  this  time  on,  the 
child  can  realize  that  an  experiment  is  a  definite  question,  the 
answer  to  which  is  to  be  used  in  the  process  out  of  which  it 
arose.  Science,  therefore,  for  this  group  was  connected  rather 
than  differentiated.  It  was  taken  up  as  involved  in  the  study 
of  cooking,  or  of  history,  and  not  as  a  subject  by  itself.  In  cook- 
ing, the  child  learned  to  recognize  food  in  its  natural  forms,  to 
classify  these  roughly  as  to  plant  or  animal,  or  as  to  their  nature 
as  part  of  the  plant—root,  stem,  fruit,  or  seed.  In  history,  as  he 
journeyed  with  his  chosen  explorers,  he  was  helped  to  observe 
how  life— plant,  animal,  and  human— has  adapted  itself  to  cli- 
mate, to  soil,  and  to  physiographical  structure;  he  sees  what 
part  the  large  physical  forces  and  processes  have  played  and  are 
playing  in  the  evolution  of  the  globe,  and  how  they  were  and 
are  related  to  the  problems  of  navigation  and  of  commerce  and 
have  been  used  to  solve  these  problems. 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          127 

THE   STUDY    OF  WORLD   TRAVELERS 

Chronologically,  there  is  an  impossible  gulf  between  the 
early  Phoenician  explorers  and  the  world  travelers  who  first 
brought  the  whole  round  world  into  ken.  Psychologically,  how- 
ever, the  child  passes  swiftly  across  the  gulf  of  time  on  the  wings 
of  his  imagination.  Eager  to  get  on  in  the  fascinating  story  of 
discovery,  he  accepts  brief  outlines  of  the  intervening  years 
as  a  base  for  his  thinking  and  finds  it  easy  to  go  with  Marco 
Polo  on  his  voyage  of  world  discovery  to  the  East,  with  Prince 
Henry  of  Portugal  to  the  coast  of  Africa,  or  with  the  Spaniards 
to  America.5 

The  starting  point  again  varied  with  the  interest  of  the  chil- 
dren and  grew  out  of  their  class  discussion.  Sometimes  incidents 
in  the  life  of  an  explorer  were  told  or  read  by  them.  As  a  be- 
ginning of  the  study  of  Prince  Henry  of  Portugal,  the  children 
were  asked  to  pick  out  on  the  globe  the  largest  masses  of  land. 
As  each  child  decided  on  what  he  thought  was  a  continent  (the 
word  was  given  to  them),  he  wrote  its  name  on  the  board.  In 
this  way  they  located  the  six  continents  and  then  agreed  on  a 
definition  of  a  continent,  incidentally  defining  an  island  and 
an  isthmus  in  the  process  of  discussion. 

The  question  was  then  asked  if  any  child  knew  which  were 
the  first  parts  of  the  globe  to  be  explored  and  inhabited.  Most 
of  the  children  agreed  on  Europe  or  Asia  by  eliminating  North 
and  South  America  and  Africa.  Those  who  had  studied  the 
Phoenician  civilization  were  the  first  to  develop  this  idea  and 
pointed  out  the  region  around  the  Mediterranean  which  had 
been  explored  and  settled.  They  looked  at  the  curious  map 
of  the  early  cartographers,  showing  strange  animals  in  the  un- 
known regions  and  the  encircling,  whirling  sea  which  was  sup- 
posed to  surround  everything.  These  and  other  early  notions 

o  In  some  years  this  was  followed  by  Magellan,  Sir  Francis  Drake,  and 
Captain  Cook.  Books  used  by  the  teacher  for  biographic  material  were: 
C.  K.  Adams,  Christopher  Columbus;  Geo.  M.  Towle,  Magellan,  Hezekiah 
Butterworth,  The  Story  of  Magellan;  Geo.  M.  Towle,  Drake  the  Sea  King 
and  Prince  Henry  the  Navigator;  Captain  Cook's  description  of  his  voy- 
ages; Edward  R.  Shaw,  Discoveries  and  Explorers;  and  Daniel  Defoe,  Robin- 
son Crusoe. 


128  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  the  form  of  the  world  interested  them  and  gave  them  some- 
thing of  a  feeling  of  superiority  or  at  least  confidence  in  their 
own  vantage  point  of  superior  knowledge. 

The  limits  of  Prince  Henry's  route  were  pointed  out  on  the 
map—his  observatory  at  Sagres  in  Spain,  and  India.  Selected 
anecdotes  to  show  his  desire  to  find  his  way  to  India  around 
Africa  gave  the  children  a  sympathetic  understanding  of  his 
motives.  They  then  speculated  on  how  he  would  go  about  it. 
Most  of  them  wanted  him  to  go  through  the  Mediterranean  Sea 
and  Suez  Canal,  finding  the  names  of  seas  and  countries  as  they 
pointed  out  the  way. 

Digression  was  made  here  to  tell  the  story  of  the  hostility  of 
the  Moors  to  the  Christians,  the  lands  held  by  each,  and  the 
efforts  the  Christians  had  made  to  recover  Jerusalem.  The  ef- 
fect of  the  Crusades  in  making  known  to  Western  countries  the 
rich  products  of  the  East  was  pointed  out. 

Some  of  the  children  thought  Prince  Henry  might  build  a 
ship  like  Nansen's,  and  this  led  back  to  the  kind  of  ships  that 
were  used  in  that  day  and  the  few  instruments  available  for 
guidance  at  sea.  Some  of  the  children  had  dwelt  enough  on 
Nansen's  thought  in  arranging  for  his  voyage  to  see  that  study 
and  planning  were  desirable.  They  could  therefore  understand 
why  Prince  Henry  built  an  observatory  where  he  gathered  men 
for  study  on  the  problems  of  better  instruments  and  methods 
of  recording.  This  brought  up  the  subject  of  map  making,  and 
each  child  was  asked  to  bring  in  a  map  showing  how  he  came 
from  his  home  to  the  school.  These  maps,  finally  made  by  all 
the  children,  showed  a  great  difference  in  accuracy.  Only  one 
child  thought  of  representing  the  distance  by  a  scale.  The  ex- 
perience, however,  made  them  appreciate  to  some  degree  the 
series  of  maps  in  Henry  the  Navigator  by  C.  R.  Beazley,  which 
well  illustrate  the  evolution  of  map  making.  The  children  were 
then  given  a  certain  amount  of  detailed  instruction  in  map 
drawing.  This  was  only  enough  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  mo- 
ment. At  the  same  time  the  shop  director,  the  art  teacher,  or 
the  special  number  teacher  also  cooperated  by  developing  to 
some  degree  beginning  notions  of  ratio,  proportion,  and  sym- 
metry. 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          129 

The  length  of  time  spent  in  preparation  was  dwelt  upon  in 
order  to  impress  upon  the  children  the  meagerness  of  equip- 
ment and  knowledge  that  handicapped  these  earliest  explorers. 
The  slowness  of  the  actual  start  was  explained  by  a  description 
of  the  strong  northeast  trade-winds  and  the  ocean  currents  they 
would  encounter  on  the  west  coast  of  Portugal.  The  belief  that 
if  one  went  far  south  he  would  find  that  the  sea  was  boiling, 
that  men  would  turn  black,  and  if  they  got  caught  in  a  whirl- 
ing current  they  would  never  return,  was  used  to  begin  an  in- 
vestigation of  the  larger  physical  forces  and  relations  of  the 
earth.  They  took  up  the  reason  for  wind  and  water  currents 
starting  near  the  equator  and  followed  them  to  the  poles  to 
see  how  and  where  they  would  affect  travelers.  The  value  of 
lines  of  latitude  was  appreciated  when  the  effect  of  winds  and 
currents  upon  the  ship  was  understood.  The  method  of  locat- 
ing lines  of  latitude  was  worked  out,  first  by  finding  the  num- 
ber of  degrees  in  any  circle,  then  in  a  semicircle,  a  quarter,  etc. 
This  was  done  geometrically.  The  children  also  took  up  the 
use  of  longitude  in  reckoning  time.  They  made  compasses 
by  magnetizing  sewing  needles  and  suspending  them  by  silk 
threads  in  a  box  on  which  the  points  were  marked.  The  attrac- 
tion of  a  magnet  and  the  fact  that  like  poles  repel  and  opposite 
attract  were  noted  while  working  with  the  magnet. 

Most  of  the  children  thought  that  when  Prince  Henry's  men 
landed  anywhere  in  Africa  they  would  meet  with  negroes  and 
were  surprised  to  find  that  this  was  not  the  case,  that  the  black 
people  were  south  of  the  point  reached.  Many  difficulties  were 
met  in  passing  the  dangerous  coast  of  Cape  Mogador  because 
currents  from  both  the  north  and  the  south  meet  here.  It  was 
only  because  one  captain  was  brave  enough  to  venture  far  out 
to  sea  where  the  water  was  more  smooth  that  he  was  able  to 
pass  the  point.  The  others  followed  and  thus  the  explorations 
were  continued. 

An  account  of  the  capture  of  some  of  the  natives  followed. 
The  children's  own  ideas  of  what  could  be  done  with  these 
prisoners  were  elicited,  as  this  was  the  beginning  of  slavery 
and  the  slave  trade.  They  were  told  of  Prince  Henry's  desire 
to  make  them  Christians  and  how  the  children  were  often 


i3o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

adopted,  of  the  early  attempt  to  teach  the  adults  trades  and 
its  failure  because  their  ineptitude  made  them  unfit  for  any  but 
the  most  laborious  work.  The  children  also  noted  what  might 
be  expected  in  the  way  of  trade  with  the  natives.  Certain 
periods  each  week  were  given  to  special  study  of  various  forms 
of  communication  and  expression,  in  particular,  that  of  writ- 
ing the  records  of  their  journey  or  of  collateral  reading.  This 
"journal"  was  at  first  dictated  to  the  teacher  by  the  whole 
class  and  agreement  reached  as  to  its  form.  The  hard  words 
were  put  on  the  board  where  they  could  be  found  when  needed, 
and  the  children  really  enjoyed  the  writing  and  worked  hard, 
but  without  conscious  effort.  At  one  time,  one  or  two  could 
not  form  certain  letters,  and  when  the  piece  of  work  was  done, 
time  was  spent  in  practice  to  attain  better  skill  in  the  me- 
chanics of  writing.  Parts  of  several  periods  were  given  to  num- 
ber work.  This  was  concerned  with  reckoning  the  log-book 
of  their  voyages  and  computing  the  total  distance  traveled  in  a 
certain  number  of  days.  In  this  process  individual  problems 
and  tasks  were  discovered,  as,  for  example,  certain  children  of 
the  group  could  not  add  by  threes  up  to  thirty-six. 

Much  time  was  given  to  the  making  of  individual  relief 
maps  or  to  the  sand-box  picture  of  the  physical  features  of  the 
country  being  discovered.  Discussions  were  resumed  as  to  why 
Prince  Henry's  expedition  did  not  get  into  the  interior  of 
Africa.  Two  were  emphasized— the  lack  of  navigable  rivers,  and 
the  desire  to  pursue  the  discoveries  by  sea.  Mountains  were 
picked  out  on  a  small  paper  relief  map,  and  the  effects  of  these 
on  the  climate  of  this  country  along  the  coast  was  talked  about. 
Eventually  the  desert  of  Sahara  was  explained  to  the  children's 
satisfaction.  As  a  good  deal  of  experimentation  was  necessary 
to  explain  the  causes  of  climate  and  the  various  and  character- 
istic forms  of  life  of  the  different  zones,  the  science  work  of 
this  group  took  on  the  nature  of  an  introduction  to  physi- 
ography. To  understand  how  heat  affects  climate,  they  investi- 
gated, with  the  aid  of  a  taper,  the  currents  of  air  in  the  room. 
They  found  the  cold  current  from  the  windows  sinking  to  the 
floor  and  the  warm  air  from  the  register  rising  to  the  ceiling. 
From  this  they  were  led  to  see  the  effect  of  the  heat  of  the  sun's 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          131 

rays  In  the  equatorial  zone  in  producing  the  trade-winds.  They 
first  described  the  direction  of  these  winds  if  the  earth  were 
standing  still,  then  the  direction  because  of  its  revolutions. 
With  a  thermometer,  they  found  the  temperature  of  water  and 
of  sand  in  the  room.  They  then  heated  the  water  and  sand  over 
the  same  gas  flame  and  noted  that  while  the  water  soon  had 
the  same  temperature  near  the  source  of  heat  and  at  the  sur- 
face, there  was  a  great  difference  in  the  sand,  that  at  the  bottom 
becoming  very  hot  and  that  at  the  top  showing  only  a  slight 
change.  From  this  experiment  they  drew  inferences  as  to  the 
amount  of  heat  absorbed  by  land  and  water  and  the  ease  with 
which  each  would  give  up  its  heat  and  the  resulting  effect  on 
climate.  The  motions  of  the  earth  about  the  sun  were  discussed 
in  order  to  understand  the  changes  of  season  and  the  contrasts 
in  climate  which  the  explorers  met.  The  points  dwelt  upon 
here  were  the  demonstration  of  centrifugal  and  centripetal 
forces  and  the  inclination  of  the  earth's  axis.  A  star  was  placed 
on  the  blackboard  on  the  north  side  of  the  room,  a  Bunsen 
burner  was  used  as  the  sun  and  a  ball  as  the  earth;  and  the 
children  were  asked  to  show  the  rotary  and  revolutionary  mo- 
tions and  to  explain  the  effect  on  climate.  The  children  drew 
diagrams  on  paper  to  show  these  motions,  and  then  watched 
the  Tellurian  to  see  especially  in  different  continents  how  far 
north  and  how  far  south  the  sun  was  vertical  and  at  what  times 
of  year. 

Trade  beginnings  between  the  Europeans  and  the  Africans 
were  then  taken  up.  Connection  again  was  made  with  the  fa- 
miliar, past  trading  experiences  of  the  Phoenician  sailors  and 
its  helpful  results,  and  they  were  reminded  of  the  glowing  ac- 
count of  the  riches  of  India  brought  back  to  Europe  by  the 
survivors  of  the  Crusades.  The  possible  and  probable  routes 
by  land  were  worked  out:  that  across  the  Suez  and  through 
North  Africa  was  studied  in  detail  with  special  reference  to 
desert  travel,  A  few  pictures  of  deserts  and  camels  helped  out. 
The  group  listened  with  interest  to  stories  of  Egypt  and  the 
ancient  monuments  still  to  be  seen.  This  was  review  to  some, 
but  new  to  more  than  half  the  children.  The  fact  that  deserts 
surrounded  the  valley  of  the  Nile  was  pointed  out  as  the  reason 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

that  the  culture  of  the  Egyptians  had  not  spread  among  the 
native  Africans.  The  connection  of  Egypt  with  the  story  of 
Moses  and  Joseph  was  reviewed.  Space  will  not  permit  the  con- 
tinuation of  this  voyage,  of  the  slow  advance  along  the  coast 
until  Diaz  finally  rounded  the  cape  and  made  the  discovery 
of  a  route  to  India. 

The  children  also  followed  Livingstone  in  his  trip  up  the 
Zambezi,  read  selected  portions  of  his  diary  on  the  character  of 
the  community  and  of  the  plant,  animal,  and  human  life.  The 
dramatic  story  of  Stanley's  search  for  Livingstone,  their  meet- 
ing, and  the  illness  and  death  of  Livingstone,  faithfully  at- 
tended to  the  end  by  his  native  attendants,  concluded  this  bio- 
graphical tale  of  exploration.  Far  away  Africa  grew  real  for 
it  also  was  the  home  of  men.  The  study  of  the  physical  setting 
—rivers,  mountains,  plains,  the  jungle  and  its  plant  and  animal 
inhabitants— took  on  human  significance  because  of  their  rela- 
tion to  the  journeys  of  a  man.  Livingstone's  motives,  springing 
from  desire  to  stop  the  slave  traffic,  to  establish  trade  relations 
with  the  natives,  to  extend  Christianity,  and  to  add  to  geo- 
graphical knowledge,  became  the  qualities  that  made  him  a 
leader,  a  missionary  of  better  ways  to  live,  a  discoverer  of  new 
frontiers.  These,  together  with  his  devotion  and  his  zeal,  stood 
out  concretely  in  his  deeds  of  bravery  and  sacrifice.  The  spirit 
of  children  of  this  age  is  in  tune  with  adventure.  They  thrill 
to  its  dangers;  they  understand  something  of  the  satisfying  fer- 
vor that  attends  heroic  effort. 

Records  of  their  work  were  faithfully  kept.  For  the  most  part 
these  were  dictated,  but  a  regular  period  was  now  set  aside  in 
which  each  child  wrote  his  own  account  of  Prince  Henry.  Many 
words  were  misspelled,  even  though  they  had  been  put  on  the 
board  and  the  children  had  been  able  to  look  at  them  when 
writing.  These  were  such  words  as  world,  because,  boat,  about, 
built,  etc.  A  new  list  of  the  words  which  gave  trouble  was  again 
placed  on  the  board  by  children  who  volunteered.  This  was 
corrected,  and  the  whole  list  of  twelve  was  dictated  to  them, 
making  the  third  time  of  writing.  Even  then,  none  of  the  chil- 
dren got  all  right;  two  or  three  were  unable  to  write  a  third 
of  them.  In  spite  of  the  necessity  of  repeated  effort,  the  children 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          133 

showed  a  good  deal  of  interest  in  writing  and  even  volunteered 
to  take  things  home  and  copy  or  finish  them.  It  may  not  be  in- 
appropriate to  emphasize  the  importance  of  recording  such 
observations  as  these.  They  are  the  straws  that  indicated  that 
there  is  a  time  and  a  place  for  the  practice  of  skills,  a  period 
when  such  necessary  drill  is  not  distasteful  to  children,  when 
they  see  its  logical  necessity  and  crave  facility  of  expression  that 
it  gives. 

THE  STUDY  OF  COLUMBUS 

With  the  beginning  of  the  spring  quarter  the  children  of  this 
group  began  the  story  of  Columbus*  journeys,  resulting  in  the 
discovery  of  the  American  continent.  The  origin  and  motives 
that  actuated  Prince  Henry's  discoveries  were  reviewed  and 
included  the  accomplishments  of  his  undertaking.  The  chil- 
dren were  asked  to  suggest  what  led  people  to  question  the 
idea  that  the  world  was  flat.  To  the  reasons  they  gave  was 
added  the  discovery  of  the  reason  for  an  eclipse  of  the  moon. 
The  nature  of  this  was  made  plain  with  object  and  globe.  All 
the  children  seemed  to  know  that  the  earth  goes  around  the 
sun,  but  very  few  knew  of  the  revolution  of  the  moon. 

Where  and  how  Columbus  lived  as  a  boy  and  something  of 
the  geography  of  Genoa  was  studied.  The  nature  and  names 
of  land  forms,  such  as  a  peninsula  and  isthmus,  a  harbor  and  a 
cape,  were  discussed  and  were  added  to  the  children's  vocabu- 
lary. The  children  mentioned  what  they  thought  would  be  of 
most  interest  to  a  boy  who  lived  in  the  town  of  Genoa  in  those 
days.  They  compared  his  liking  for  the  wharves  and  sailors  to 
that  of  Robinson  Crusoe.6  They  told  their  ideas  of  what  he 
would  learn  at  school,  talked  a  little  of  why  he  learned  Latin, 


e  The  collateral  reading  matter  for  some  time  had  been  the  story  of 
Robinson  Crusoe.  "Only  two  of  the  children  in  this  group  have  difficulty 
in  reading— one  who  cannot  read  at  all,  and  one  who  is  gaining,  but  very 
slowly.  In  writing,  the  same  two  children  have  difficulty.  When  this  work 
was  done  from  11:30-12,  they  were  often  almost  incapable  of  doing  any 
thinking.  When  this  fatigue  was  general  and  pronounced,  the  daily  lesson 
in  reading  or  writing  was  put  aside,  and  a  story  was  read  to  them.  This 
rested  them  and  had  an  additional  value  of  reenabling  the  children  to 
think  and  feel  as  a  group  in  a  constructive  way.'* 


134  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

and  whether  he  would  be  likely  to  follow  his  father's  trade, 
that  of  a  wool  comber.  Some  of  the  new  children  had  had  no 
experience  with  the  processes  of  preparing  wool.  This  was  care- 
fully explained  to  them  by  the  other  children.  The  first  sea 
voyage  Columbus  made  at  the  age  of  fourteen  was  taken  up, 
and  the  limited  geographical  knowledge  of  this  time  was  de- 
scribed. They  recalled  that  Prince  Henry's  explorers  had  gone 
far  down  the  African  coast  the  year  th^t  Prince  Henry  had 
died  and,  from  the  base  of  this  familiar  fact,  were  able  to  sur- 
mise that  the  early -voyage  of  Columbus  was  probably  only  in 
the  Mediterranean.  They  learned  of  his  interest  in  navigation, 
of  his  careful  collecting  of  books  and  charts,  of  his  study,  of 
his  inheritance  of  the  maps  and  papers  from  his  wife's  father 
who  was  a  captain  under  Prince  Henry,  and  of  his  final  deter- 
mination to  seek  means  to  prove  that  the  world  could  be  cir- 
cumnavigated. This  was  supplemented  by  further  detailed 
study  of  Columbus'  birthplace.7 

The  children  named  the  countries  whose  people  might  have 
been  seen  at  Genoa  in  Columbus'  time.  This  number  was  com- 
pared with  that  possible  to  be  seen  by  the  children  in  Chicago. 
Chicago  was  compared  with  Genoa  as  a  town  to  which  ships 
come,  and  the  differences  of  present  experience  from  that  of 
Columbus'  day  were  noted.  The  children  were  told  that  Co- 
lumbus thought  the  world  was  14,000  miles  around,  but  that 
it  is  really  25,000.  They  were  asked  to  find  out  how  much 
greater  it  is  than  Columbus  thought  it  was.  They  also  deter- 
mined how  long  it  would  take  to  go  around  it  if  one  could  go 
at  the  rate  of  5,000  miles  a  day,  and  at  other  rates.  H.  volun- 
teered that  he  knew  "the  earth  is  8,000  miles  through  from 
Alice  in  Wonderland."  The  children  were  asked,  "If  you  knew 
the  distance  of  the  circumference,  how  could  you  find  the  dis- 
tance through  the  earth?"  Several  of  the  children  thought  it 
would  be  half  the  distance  round  and  measured  it  to  find  their 
error.  They  then  measured  different  circles  to  get  an  idea  of 
the  relation  of  the  diameter  to  the  circumference.  None  of  them 
seemed  able  to  make  the  generalization,  but  apparently  under- 

7  A  present  study  of  Columbus  might  find  some  of  this  material  labeled 
apocryphal. 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          135 

stood  the  ratio  when  it  was  given  them.  A  certain  amount  of 
time  was  given  each  week  to  writing  a  record  of  Columbus 
for  their  books.8  The  facts  which  appealed  to  them  as  worth 
recording  were  those  which  were,  to  some  extent,  either  within 
their  experience  or  were  of  a  sensational  character.  In  the  story 
of  the  boyhood  of  Columbus,  all  the  children  remembered  that 
on  one  occasion  he  was  sent  on  an  errand  and  stayed  all  day, 
playing  on  the  wharves.  The  places  he  would  probably  visit 
in  his  first  trip  around  the  Mediterranean  had  little  interest, 
but  the  statement  that  once  in  a  fight  with  a  pirate  vessel,  both 
ships  caught  on  fire  and  Columbus  sprang  overboard  with  an 
oar  and  swam  six  miles  to  shore  was  remembered  and  thought 
important  enough  to  be  recorded. 

It  took  some  time  for  the  children  to  realize  what  a  long  and 
difficult  task  it  was  for  Columbus  to  secure  the  help  he  needed. 
These  children  had  an  idea  in  common  with  many  adults  that 
Columbus  merely  presented  his  case  to  the  queen,  and  she 
pledged  her  jewels  to  have  the  plan  carried  out.  In  order  that 
they  might  realize  the  real  difficulty  in  getting  support  for  a 
new  idea,  emphasis  was  laid  upon  his  repeated  attempts,  at 
the  court  of  the  King  of  Portugal,  at  Genoa,  and  for  seven  long 
years  in  Spain,  all  of  which  took  fourteen  years  of  his  life.  This 
elicited  from  the  children  expressions  of  great  sympathy.  They 
then  tried  to  imagine  in  what  form  help  could  come.  Perhaps 
some  of  the  money  came  direct  from  the  King  and  Queen,  and 
two  of  the  ships  were  levied  from  a  town. 

The  group  followed  Columbus'  first  voyage  in  some  detail. 
An  account  of  the  departure  was  read  to  them,  and  the  general 
direction  they  took  through  the  Sargasso  Sea  was  followed  on 
the  map.  The  story  included  the  discontent  of  the  sailors,  their 
alarm  at  finding  that  the  wind  blew  constantly  from  the  east 
and  in  the  belt  of  the  trade.  They  learned  of  Columbus'  fear 
lest  they  might  be  missing  Japan  by  sailing  too  far  north  and 

s  These  books  were  started  the  previous  fall  and  contained  their  records 
of  the  voyages  of  Prince  Henry  of  Portugal  and  of  Livingstone.  They  were 
in  printed  form.  The  printing  was  done  by  older  groups  on  the  school  press. 
The  fact  that  their  own  story  of  Columbus  was  to  be  included  in  this  book 
added  incentive  to  the  keeping  of  the  record.  It  also  helped  to  keep  up 
the  needed  emphasis  on  writing  during  the  quarter. 


136  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  consequent  shifting  of  their  course  to  the  southwest,  which 
took  them  among  the  Bahamas  instead  of  to  Florida.  The  chil- 
dren gained  some  idea  of  how  the  speed  of  a  vessel  was  esti- 
mated in  knots,  and  how  Columbus  himself  always  took  the 
speed  on  this  voyage  to  let  the  sailors  think  they  had  come 
less  far  than  was  really  the  case.  Otherwise  they  would  have 
become  discouraged  and  insisted  upon  an  immediate  return. 
On  reading  that  they  "shifted  two  points  to  the  starboard/*  one 
of  the  children  who  had  been  on  a  sailing  vessel  drew  a  sort 
of  diagram  on  the  board  to  show  the  others  what  was  meant. 
The  map  was  followed  very  closely  in  this  voyage,  both  on  one 
such  as  Columbus  was  supposed  to  have  had  and  also  on  a  mod- 
ern map.  The  children  made  out  the  direction  Columbus  was 
sailing  at  every  step  up  to  his  landing  at  one  of  the  Bahamas 
and  later  to  Cuba  and  along  its  coast.  This  was  charted  from 
day  to  day  from  observations  of  latitude  and  longitude. 

His  return  landing  near  Lisbon,  in  Portugal,  because  of  the 
severity  of  the  storm  was  related,  and  the  children  suggested 
that  he  would  send  a  messenger  to  the  King  of  Spain  telling 
him  of  his  arrival.  The  route  was  traced  by  which  Columbus 
would  then  go  to  Palos  where  he  had  started,  and  up  to  the 
King  at  Barcelona.  Bayonne  was  found  where  Captain  Pinzon 
landed  with  the  Pinta.  The  children  were  told  of  this  captain's 
feeling  that  Columbus  was  lost  and  of  his  attempt  to  take  to 
himself  the  glory  of  the  new  discoveries  and  of  his  message 
concerning  this  to  the  King.  In  order  to  see  how  the  moral  side 
of  this  action  appeared  to  the  children,  they  were  asked  what 
they  thought  Pinzon  would  do  when  he  landed.  They  suggested 
that  he  would  send  a  message  to  the  King  telling  him  that  he 
had  returned  and  that  Columbus  was  lost.  When  told  of  his 
real  action,  they  considered  it  "mean."  Some  suggested  heavy 
punishments,  some  light  because  he  had  been  of  service  in  the 
beginning.  A  description  of  the  reception  given  Columbus  by 
the  King  was  then  read  to  them  from  The  Makers  of  America. 

The  course  continued  with  the  study  of  Columbus'  second 
voyage.  At  a  suggestion  the  children  proposed  writing  and 
staging  a  play  of  Columbus'  life.  This  meant  an  unpremedi- 
tated (by  them)  and  systematic  review  of  the  work  done.  A 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          137 

bright  interest  lit  up  the  old  material  and  gave  a  new  motive 
for  a  fresh  attack.  Under  this  renewed  inspiration  it  was  pos- 
sible to  correct  many  false  impressions  and  to  emphasize  with- 
out undue  effort  the  attainment  of  necessary  skills  in  the  con- 
struction of  many  types  of  the  communicative  and  expressive 
arts.  It  also  did  much  to  help  the  children  review  and  evaluate 
the  significant  events  of  Columbus'  life  and  of  that  period  of 
history. 

The  latter  weeks  of  the  quarter  and  of  the  year  were  spent 
on  the  story  of  Balboa.  The  series  was  finally  rounded  out  by 
the  voyage  of  Magellan.  As  a  start  for  this,  the  children  sur- 
mised a  way  for  his  voyage  to  the  Pacific,  of  which  he  had  heard 
from  Balboa.  They  suggested  that  he  would  look  for  a  water- 
way through  the  land  which  he  had  found.  Some  of  them 
thought  this  would  be  a  river,  and  discussed  whether  the  way 
between  two  oceans  would  be  fresh  water  or  salt.  They  were 
told  of  the  discovery  of  the  Straits  and  of  Magellan's  determina- 
tion, when  he  found  himself  in  the  Pacific,  to  circumnavigate 
the  globe.  The  children  from  previous  study  knew  that  he  must 
expect  to  meet  air  and  water  currents  near  the  equator,  and 
that  the  calm  would  have  to  be  endured.  They  were  told  of  the 
distress  from  the  lack  of  food  and  water  that  did  occur  and  of 
the  arrival  at  the  Philippines  where  Magellan  was  killed.  They 
were  reminded  at  this  point  of  Prince  Henry  of  Portugal's  ex- 
plorations, that  he  had  gone  around  Africa  and  found  India 
and  that  the  Portuguese  were,  in  Magellan's  time,  engaged  in 
making  settlements  on  the  coast  of  India.  The  Edict  of  the 
Pope  at  that  time,  was  also  recalled,  by  which  he  divided  the 
world  giving  the  east  half  to  Portugal  and  the  west  to  Spain. 
The  story  was  continued  until  finally  the  home-seeking  ships 
rounded  Africa  and  returned  to  Spain,  and  made  the  exciting 
discovery  that  a  day  in  time  had  been  lost.  The  last  period  was 
spent  in  talking  over  what  they  had  studied  during  the  year 
and  in  a  character  comparison  of  the  men. 

The  group  teacher9  at  the  close  of  the  year's  record  com- 
ments as  follows: 


&  Laura  L.  Runyon. 


ij8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  different  spirit  of  the  two  sections,  a  and  b  of  this  group  has 
been  interesting,  a  was  made  up  of  children  of  such  decided  person- 
ality that  the  spirit  of  the  group  was  conflicting  and  critical.  The 
only  time  when  a  semblance  of  cooperative  spirit  ruled  was  in  play. 
In  group  b,  on  the  other  hand,  a  congenial  spirit  ruled  with  the 
result  that  they  progressed  faster  and  accomplished  far  more  than 
Section  a.  I  have  been  impressed  with  the  way  in  which  the  adventur- 
ous spirit  has  grown  in  this  class  during  the  year.  They  seem  to  have 
gained  a  vivid  image  of  sea  conditions,  of  tropical  lands  and  natives, 
of  possible  adventures  on  sea  and  land,  and  an  awakened  interest 
in  recognizing  differences  between  what  they  know  of  their  own 
environs  and  the  new  images  resulting  from  the  imaginative  study  of 
going  out  by  sea  into  different  climates  and  conditions 

When  they  take  up  a  new  country,  it  might  be  of  value  for  the 
children  to  taste  the  native  fruits  and  products  and  attempt  the 
manufacture  of  certain  products,  such  as  the  making  of  rubber  from 
the  caoutchouc,  or  chocolate  from  the  cocoa  bean.  This  would  make 
the  work  more  permanent  and  valuable;  would  serve  to  keep  in  mind 
the  true  motive  of  most  explorers,  die  wealth  to  be  acquired  for  an 
individual  or  a  country;  would  help  to  a  better  understanding  of  the 
contact  between  the  civilized  and  uncivilized,  and  the  results  of  that 
contact;  and  would  give  a  meaning  to  the  search  for  short  land  water- 
ways in  and  through  a  country.  It  would  also  seem  a  wise  plan  an- 
other year,  that  early  in  the  fall  the  children  be  sent,  in  school  time, 
singly  or  in  twos,  on  short  exploring  trips,  and  be  required  to  re- 
port on ,  their  discoveries.  The  report  should  include  a  map  of 
directions  as  well  as  the  things  seen. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  getting  a  rational  idea  of  the  explorers 
and  their  aims,  the  work  of  this  year  has  been  very  satisfactory.  The 
children  seem  to  have  a  fairly  correct  idea  of  what  made  Columbus 
and  the  other  explorers  great,  and  on  the  other  hand,  to  recognize 
that  some  of  their  deeds  were  not  commendable.  They  also  seem  able 
to  contrast  their  own  times  with  those  of  the  men  they  study,  and 
also  to  compare  different  countries. 


CORRELATED   ACTIVITIES 

A  hasty  reading  of  this  account  of  the  activities  of  Group  V ; 
in  its  historical  story  form  may  give  an  impression  of  a  very  aca- 
demic school.  The  balance  of  this  group's  work  was  so  ar- 
ranged, however,  that  there  was  plenty  of  time  for  activities 
which  engaged  the  whole  body  as  well  as  minds  and  hands,  eyes 
and  ears.  The  children  were  on  the  playground  and  excur- 
sions, in  the  art  and  textile  studios,  in  the  kitchen-laboratory, 


EXPLORATION  AND  DISCOVERY          139 

in  assembly  with  the  rest  of  the  children,  back  and  forth  in  a 
round  of  natural  and  highly  correlated  social  living. 

As  heretofore,  the  number  work  was  largely  incidental  to 
the  carpentry,  cooking,  sewing,  and  science.  The  children  for- 
mulated their  own  problems  involving  multiplication  and  sub- 
traction, or  measurement  of  surfaces.  The  reading  and  writing 
was,  for  the  most  part,  of  their  own  records.  In  art,  the  subjects 
for  representation  were  those  of  their  history,  done  on  the 
sand-table,  in  clay,  colored  chalk,  charcoal,  and  water-color. 
The  scenes  and  backdrops  for  their  play,  especially  the  Co- 
lumbus drama,  were  done  by  the  children.  The  aim  was  self- 
expression  and  more  skill  in  visual  observation. 

In  their  music  the  children  were  given  note-books  with  lines 
for  writing  music,  and  began  this  year  to  make  copies  of  the 
songs  they  had  composed.  The  key  in  which  the  song  was  to 
be  written  was  determined  from  the  piano,  then  the  time  was 
noted  from  what  is  called  the  "strong  pulses"  and  was  indi- 
cated by  putting  a  bar  before  each  in  writing  the  notes.  Last  of 
all,  the  stems  of  the  notes  were  marked,  designating  the  time 
assigned  to  each.  In  the  shop  work  also,  emphasis  was  placed 
on  getting  the  child's  idea  constructed  and  comparatively  little 
was  placed  upon  technique  or  finish.  Instruction  was  given  in 
the  first  principles  of  machines  and  in  handling  the  materials 
such  as  lumber,  reeds,  cane,  or  bamboo,  and  in  making  the 
articles  necessary  to  illustrate  their  history  or  for  use  in  their 
experimental  work.  Cooking,  as  always  fitted  into  the  program 
of  the  weekly  luncheon,  and  emphasizing  an  experimental 
study  of  the  proteins  of  eggs,  meat,  or  milk. 

SUMMARY 

Certain  educational  implications  of  both  the  subject-matter 
and  method  of  the  study  of  this  year  seem  worthy  of  emphasis. 
The  conditions  for  learning,  and,  therefore,  for  thinking,  were 
well  set  up.  For  each  child  of  the  group  the  whole  experience 
was  inherently  personal  enough  to  stimulate  and  direct  his  ob- 
servation to  the  connections  involved.  It  led  him  to  inference 
and  then  to  its  testing.  As  he  followed  his  chosen  explorer  in 


I4o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  various  laps  of  his  voyage,  when  problems  arose,  the  child 
was  stimulated  to  forecast  possible  results—things  to  do.  This, 
entailed  some  inventiveness,  for  he  must  jump  in  thought  from 
the  known  to  the  unknown,  from  the  old  to  the  new.  Such 
imaginative  forecasting  was  for  that  child  creative  thinking.  It 
had  the  quality  of  original  research.  It  fulfilled  the  essentials, 
of  true  reflection.  These  essentials  are  also  those  of  scientific 
method  in  all  research  whether  of  the  kindergarten  or  of  the 
scientific  laboratory.10  "They  are  first,  that  the  pupil  (or  re- 
search worker)  have  a  genuine  situation  of  experience— that 
there  be  a  continuous  activity  in  which  he  is  interested  for  its 
own  sake;  secondly,  that  a  genuine  problem  develop  within  this 
situation  as  a  stimulus  to  thought;  third,  that  he  possess  the  in- 
formation and  make  the  observations  needed  to  deal  with  it; 
fourth,  that  suggested  solutions  occur  to  him  which  he  shall  be 
responsible  for  developing  in  an  orderly  way;  fifth,  that  he  have 
opportunity  and  occasion  to  test  his  ideas  by  application,  to> 
make  their  meaning  clear,  and  to  discover  for  himself  their  va- 
lidity!" 

10  John  Dewey,  Democracy  and  Education  (New  York,  The  Macmillaa 
Co.,  1916),  p.  192. 


CHAPTER   VIII 

L  O  GAL     HISTORY 

GROUP  vi  (AGE  NINE) 

LWO  years  of  experimentation  with  the  school's  curriculum 
demonstrated  that  there  are  dominant  interests  and  attitudes 
Tvhich  characterize  definite  stages  in  a  child's  development. 
These  stages  are  not  sharply  defined.  There  are  periods  of  tran- 
sition when  one  merges  into  the  next.  The  first  of  these  stages 
is  one  in  which  children  are  largely  occupied  with  direct  social 
and  outgoing  kinds  of  action,  with  a  progressive  increase  in 
the  complexity  of  work  undertaken  and  responsibilities  as- 
sumed. At  about  eight  years  of  age  they  are  ready  for  and  feel 
the  need  of  getting  skill  in  the  use  of  tools  and  knowledge  of 
the  rules  and  techniques  of  work.  While  the  children  in  Group 
V  exhibited  many  of  these  characteristics  of  the  second  stage  of 
growth,  the  year  was  markedly  one  of  transition.  By  the  time 
they  entered  Group  VI,  however,  they  were  well  launched  into 
the  second  stage. 

Some  of  the  important  theoretical  statements  lying  behind 
the  work  of  the  school  were  developed  through  faculty  discus- 
sions of  the  practices  of  these  two  groups.  In  the  first  stage  of 
growth  there  is  always  motor  activity,  and  there  is  always  a 
-story,  a  drama,  an  image— a  mental  whole.  But  the  two  are  not 
separate  from  each  other.  Acts  are  not,  to  the  child's  conscious- 
ness, means  for  realizing  ideas;  they  are  just  spontaneous  over- 
flow and  exhibition.  The  child's  thoughts  are  not  something  to 
be  realized;  they  are  the  living  meaning  and  value  that  saturate 
whatever  he  does.  Hence  this  is  called  the  play  period.  The 
activities  of  the  first  four  years  of  the  school  were  based  upon 
the  working  theory  that  the  child's  attitude  is  predominantly 

141 


14*  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  this  sort  and  that  it  is  premature  to  force  upon  him  work 
where  there  is  a  separation  of  means  and  ends  in  psychological 
essence,  a  divorce  of  elements,  steps  and  acts  from  the  idea  for 
which  they  exist.  This  theory  accounts  for  the  relatively  slight 
and  incidental  attention  given  to  reading,  writing,  and  numbers 
in  the  sixth  and  seventh  years  and  for  the  attempt  to  introduce 
geography  and  science  in  a  synthetic  and  living  rather  than 
an  analytic  and  morphological  way.  It  was  not  supposed  that 
conscious  relating  of  means  and  ends  is  wholly  absent  in  this 
period  or  that  in  school  work  there  is  no  need  of  anticipating 
the  next  stage  of  growth.  Even  with  six-year-old  children,  con- 
sciousness of  somewhat  remote  ends  begins,  and  there  is  in- 
terest in  regulating  behavior  so  as  to  reach  results.  The  change 
to  one  of  conscious  direction  of  action  comes  easily  and  hence 
earlier  in  activities  with  a  tangible  result,  such  as  making  a 
box  to  use  or  cooking  cereal  for  lunch.  This  working  hypothesis 
of  the  school  by  no  means  blocks  out  the  possibility  of  greater 
use  of  symbols  in  what  might  be  called  free  reading  and  writing 
during  the  sixth  and  seventh  years  in  the  form  of  labels,  proper 
names,  and  brief  records  of  work,  when  such  efforts  by  the 
child  do  not  divert  his  energies  from  the  more  fundamental 
activities  involving  the  larger  muscles.  There  will  always  be 
individual  children  ahead  or  behind  chronological  age,  but 
readiness  to  read  must  be  determined  by  the  psychological  at- 
titude described  above,  namely,  a  willingness  to  work  out 
means  for  deferred  ends.  A  child  who  has  reached  this  stage 
of  mental  development  will  see  in  learning  to  read,  write  or 
figure,  means  that  will  often  help  him  reach  his  desired  ends 
more  quickly  and  efficiently.  Too  much  emphasis  cannot  be 
laid  upon  the  fact  that  undue  premium  is  put  upon  the  ability 
to  learn  to  read  at  a  certain  chronological  age.  The  child  who 
cannot  read  at  seven  or  eight  is  considered  retarded.  The  fun- 
damental wrong  done  young  children  by  the  large  classes  in 
the  public  schools  has  of  necessity  given  rise  to  endless  series 
of  "readers,"  so-called  work  books,  which  are  supposed  to  di- 
rect activity  on  the  part  of  the  child.  The  entertainment  plus 
information  motive  for  reading  conduces  much  to  the  habit  of 
solitary  self-entertainment  which  ends  too  often  in  day-dream- 


LOCAL  HISTORY  143 

ing  instead  of  guided  creative  activities,  controlled  by  objective 
success  or  failure. 

In  the  Dewey  School  the  active  and  constructive  -work  for 
children  of  six  and  seven  held  an  immediate  appeal  as  an  out- 
let for  energy.  It  also  led  on  in  orderly  fashion  to  the  next 
undertaking  and  enabled  the  child  to  form  a  habit  of  working 
for  ends  and  a  method  of  controlling  present  activities  by  a 
sequence  of  steps  so  that  they  grew  into  larger  ideas  and  plans. 
This  method  of  thinking  and  acting  was  gradually  transferred  to 
the  accomplishment  of  ends  more  consciously  conceived  and 
more  remote.  In  the  eighth  year,  or  that  of  Group  V,  such 
transfer  was  marked.  By  the  ninth,  the  average  child  showed 
an  evident  dislike  of  attempting  to  reach  results  for  which  he 
felt  the  means  at  his  command  were  inadequate.  For  example, 
he  objected  to  the  kind  of  drawings  he  had  made  formerly 
with  delight,  apparently  because  he  was  beginning  to  see  them 
as  results  which  appeared  crude  and  even  absurd. 

From  observation  and  discussion  of  the  early  work,  three 
fundamental  working  principles  were  formulated.  First,  growth 
is  gradual;  it  comes  in  reading  before  in  writing,  and  in  both 
before  in  numbers.  This  does  not  mean  that  the  child  may  not 
have  used  numbers  with  great  interest,  as  distinct  from  ana- 
lyzing them  and  learning  the  rules  for  their  use.  Growth  in 
the  use  of  science  comes  even  after  that  in  numbers.  Children 
of  eight  or  nine  were  found  to  be  interested  in  experimental 
work  in  science,  but  not  because  they  conceived  a  certain  prob- 
lem and  regarded  the  experiment  as  a  way  of  solving  it.  They 
took  hold  of  experimentation  as  they  did  of  constructive  work; 
it  was  the  active  performance  of  a  series  of  steps;  and  it  was 
"seeing  what  happens"  that  occupied  their  minds.  Second,  at 
the  psychological  level  of  six  and  seven  years,  children  are  not 
yet  ready  for  analysis,  for  attention  to  forms  and  symbols,  since 
interest  in  technique  demands  a  background  of  experience.  A 
stretch  of  positive  subject-matter  must  come  first,  enlarging  and 
deepening  the  child's  world  of  imagination  and  thought  until 
he  gradually  becomes  ready  to  analyze  an  experience  he  has 
not  yet  had,  to  learn  rules  that  have  no  immediate  outlet  in 
action  and  whose  appeal  is  remote  and  imaginary.  Third,  the 


144  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

introduction  to  technique  must  come  in  connection  with  ends 
that  arise  within  the  child's  own  experience,  real  or  imagined. 
It  is  not  enough  for  the  teacher  to  see  the  end.  The  prime  psy- 
chological necessity  is  that  the  child  see  and  feel  the  end  as  his 
end,  the  need  as  his  need,  and  thus  have  an  inherent  and  im- 
pelling motive  from  within  for  making  the  analysis  and  master- 
ing the  rules  of  procedure.  The  faculty  of  the  school  found  that 
these  principles  could  be  put  into  effect  only  as  the  formal 
work  was  in  connection  with  active,  constructive,  or  expressive 
activity  'presenting  difficulties  and  the  need  of  meeting  them. 
The  technical  exercises  were  selected  from  such  material.  Ad- 
ditional concrete  material  or  occupation  supplied  opportuni- 
ties for  using  the  newly  acquired  power  and  realizing  its  value, 
and  the  spiral  course  of  the  circuit  of  experience  rounded  the 
next  ascending  curve. 

SETTING  OF  GROUP 

Group  VI,  the  nine-year-old  children,  was  divided  into  two 
sections  on  the  basis  of  their  previous  experience  in  school. 
Their  headquarters  were  in  a  rather  inadequate  room,  but 
their  study  of  local  history  and  physiography  took  them  into 
the  laboratory  of  the  outdoors.  In  fact,  with  this  group  and 
those  above  it,  the  home  room  and  the  group  teacher  assumed 
less  and  less  importance  because  of  the  growing  physical  and 
mental  independence  of  the  children.  The  children  were  un- 
der the  direction  of  one  of  the  history  teachers  and  her  assist- 
ant.1 In  order  to  secure  more  time  for  practice  in  reading  and 
writing,  the  school  day  was  lengthened  to  include  an  hour  in 
the  afternoon.  The  year  was  characterized  by  the  children's 
growing  ability  in  control  and  self-direction.  They  often  asked 
for  extra  work  to  do  at  home,  and  when  they  showed  a  desire 
to  carry  on  a  piece  of  work  alone,  they  were  allowed  to  carry 
it  to  completion  independently. 

The  study  of  the  great  explorers  and  world  discoverers  the 
previous  year  served  as  a  transition  in  the  story  of  social  life 


i  Laura  Runyon,  Margaret  Hoblitt. 


LOCAL  HISTORY  145 

to  the  settlement  of  local  adventurers  and  pioneers.  The  starting 
point  for  the  study  grew  out  of  discussion.  As  was  customary 
in  their  first  meetings,  the  general  possibilities  for  study  the 
coming  year  were  talked  over.  Thoughts  naturally  reverted  to 
last  year's  work,  and  a  quick  review  was  made.  The  adventures 
of  Phoenician  sailors  and  traders,  of  the  explorations  of  Marco 
Polo,  Prince  Henry,  Balboa,  Magellan,  Captain  Cooke,  Drake, 
Nansen,  Livingstone,  or  others  who  had  become  familiar  fig- 
ures to  the  group  were  passed  in  rapid  review.  At  the  close, 
emphasis  was  laid  on  the  English,  the  Spanish,  and  French 
settlements  in  America.  The  motives  which  led  to  all  explora- 
tion were  discussed.  Love  of  adventure,  the  lure  of  El  Dorado, 
and  in  some  cases  freedom  from  oppression  were  mentioned. 
Of  all  these  the  children  decided  that  the  search  for  a  short 
way  to  India  and  her  riches  was  the  most  powerful. 

THE   STUDY   OF   LOCAL  HISTORY  AND   GEOGRAPHY 

The  group  decided  they  would  like  to  know  more  about  the 
United  States  and  how  it  began,  and  finally  agreed  that  the 
place  where  they  lived  would  be  a  good  place  to  start,  that  they 
would  like  to  know  how  the  Chicago  they  knew  had  come  to 
be.  This  had  been  the  teacher's  objective;  but  because  it  was 
obtained  by  means  of  a  group  process,  the  children  regarded 
the  plan  as  their  own.  Local  museums  and  historic  spots  were 
at  hand  and  easy  of  access.  They  could  even  talk  with  persons 
whose  memories  still  held  something  of  the  fact  and  flavor  of 
early  days.  In  such  a  study  definite  activities  of  a  particular 
people  would  be  prominent  and  could  be  developed  according 
to  the  children's  power  to  deal  with  limited  and  positive  fact. 
In  the  study,  also,  they  would  use  what  they  had  thus  far  gained 
in  understanding  of  the  origins  of  occupations  and  the  begin- 
nings of  social  organization  outside  the  family  group.  From 
the  teacher's  point  of  view,  the  problem  was  to  introduce  the 
children  to  new  situations  requiring  constructive  action  and 
then  help  them  to  analyze,  plan,  and  forecast  the  various  steps 
which  might  be  taken  in  working  out  the  problem.  In  other 
words  it  was  hoped  that  when  confronted  with  the  new  situa- 


146  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

tions  of  early  American  frontier  life,  the  children  would  be 
interested  and  stimulated  to  size  them  up,  calculate  the  re- 
sources of  the  settlers,  and  from  time  to  time  reformulate  the 
probable  solutions  and  the  courses  of  action  taken.2 

Local  history  and  geography,  therefore,  in  this  year  were 
begun  with  the  study  of  the  Northwest  and  especially  of  Chi- 
cago. This  was  considered  in  three  stages:  (i)  the  period  of  the 
French  explorations,  (2)  Fort  Dearborn  and  the  log-cabin  age, 
(3)  development  of  the  city  of  Chicago.  In  general,  for  this 
course  in  localized  history  the  choice  of  a  locality  would  be 
determined  by  the  local  environment  and  experience  of  both 
teacher  and  the  group.  In  this  school  other  experiments  than 
this  were  made.  One  group  studied  Roman  history.  This  was 
not  altogether  successful,  as  it  seemed  too  remote  from  the 
present  interests  and  aims  of  social  life.  It  presented  too  many 
abstract  problems  of  a  political  nature  which  a  child  of  this 
age  is  not  interested  in  and  with  which  he  is  unable  to  cope 
until  a  later  period. 

THE  PERIOD   OF  FRENCH  EXPLORATION 

In  the  first  period  the  children  were  told  stories  of  the  lives 
of  Marquette  and  Joliet,  La  Salle  and  Tonty,  with  the  reasons 
and  aims  which  led  them  into  the  west,  and  their  routes  of 
travel  were  traced  on  maps. 

The  related  geography  was  the  finding  of  the  great  lines  of 
travel  from  the  Atlantic  through  the  St.  Lawrence  and  the 
Great  Lakes  to  the  Mississippi  and  the  determination  of  where 
forts  should  be  located.  In  all  cases  the  class  first  found  where 
the  man  went  and  then  the  later  names  of  the  rivers  and  towns 
with  which  he  was  connected.  The  antagonism  between  the 
English  and  the  French,  and  the  territory  claimed  by  each  were 

2  "Knowledge  of  the  past  is  the  key  to  understanding  the  present.  History 
deals  with  the  past,  but  this  past  is  the  history  of  the  present.  An  intelligent 
study  of  the  discovery,  explorations,  colonization  of  America,  of  the  pioneer 
movement  westward,  of  immigration,  etc.  should  be  a  study  of  the  United 
States  as  it  is  today:  of  the  country  we  now  live  in."  John  Dewey,  Democracy 
and  Education  (New  York,  The  Maonillan  Co.,  1916),  p.  251. 


LOCAL  HISTORY  147 

explained.  The  way  was  then  sought  by  which  the  French 
would  enter  unprotected  territory,  and  the  points  where  con- 
flicts would  arise.  The  hostility  between  the  Iroquois  Indians 
and  the  French,  the  locality  of  the  Five  Nations,  and  the  di- 
minished fur  trade  of  the  east  helped  to  make  plain  the  route 
the  French  fur  traders  must  take  to  reach  the  Indians  of  the 
western  lands.  With  the  occupation  of  new  territory  went  the 
necessity  for  forts.  The  location  of  these  at  points  command- 
ing entrances  of  rivers  and  portages  of  the  heads  of  lakes  was 
noted,  and  the  reasons  given.  Politically,  these  were  strategic 
points  of  vantage  from  which  to  carry  out  La  Salle's  desire  to 
found  a  new  France;  commercially,  they  held  the  same  advan- 
tage as  points  for  reaching  the  fur  trade  of  the  West.  Father 
Marquette  typified  the  religious  zeal  of  the  times,  so  that  it 
was  possible  for  the  children  gradually  to  become  conscious  of 
the  various  motives  which  lie  back  of  all  exploration  and  prog- 
ress. 

Beginning  with  the  boyhood  of  Marquette,  as  a  typical  mis- 
sionary of  that  period,  the  general  trend  of  the  French  explora- 
tions in  Canada  and  the  Lake  regions  was  traced  by  means  of 
incidents  in  his  life.  The  story  of  the  part  the  fur  trader  Joliet 
played,  as  an  explorer,  in  opening  up  the  West  then  followed. 
That  of  La  Salle  and  Tonty  and  their  various  journeys  were 
sketched  more  briefly. 

The  records  note  that  there  was  little  freedom  of  language 
in  the  group,  but  as  the  work  continued,  the  children  developed 
a  great  interest  in  reading  and  writing,  asking  to  have  all  new 
words  and  important  names  put  on  the  blackboard  to  copy. 
They  began  to  suggest  of  their  own  accord  the  available  sources 
for  looking  up  additional  material  and  spent  much  time  volun- 
tarily finding  the  meaning  and  pronunciation  of  Indian  names. 
It  became  a  pleasurable  game  to  have  new  and  difficult  words 
used- in  conversation  or  reading  aloud,  put  upon  the  board. 
This  growing  conscious  demand  for  something  hard,  something 
which  would  last  and  call  out  power,  efficiency  in  selection  and 
adaptation  of  means  to  end,  was  a  frequently  noted  character- 
istic of  this  age. 


148  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

FORT  DEARBORN   AND  THE  LOG-CABIN   AGE 

In  trying  to  discover  why  Fort  Dearborn  was  built,  Group 
Vl-b  had  followed  with  intense  interest  the  story  of  the  George 
Rogers  Clark  expedition.  At  first  they  could  not  understand 
why  Clark  should  think  it  worth  while  to  make  so  long  and 
dangerous  a  journey.  They  were  reminded  that  the  capture  of 
a  few  forts  meant  the  accession  of  a  large  tract  of  valuable  land. 
One  child  suggested  that  perhaps  Clark  saw  it  would  be  more 
easily  won  when  few  people  lived  there  than  when  it  was 
thickly  settled.  The  return  of  a  pupil  who  had  been  absent 
through  the  most  interesting  part  of  the  work  was  made  the 
occasion  for  a  review.  This  the  children  seemed  to  enjoy  more 
than  their  first  study.  There  was  scarcely  a  detail  which  they 
were  not  able  and  eager  to  tell.  They  took  particular  pleasure 
in  relating  what  a  hard  time  Clark  had  to  take  Vincennes  and 
how  it  actually  was  accomplished  through  the  persuasion  of 
some  friendly  Frenchmen  without  the  firing  of  a  gun.  After  fin- 
ishing the  story  of  Clark  they  were  anxious  to  write  their  own 
story  of  the  expedition  on  the  blackboard.3  Each  child  tried  this 
experiment  by  himself,  the  teacher  aiding  with  the  spelling.  The 
difficulties  of  composition  became  very  great,  however,  and  some 
of  those  who  had  been  most  eager  found  that  they  had  little 
to  say.  As  time  went  on,  each  week  there  were  two  periods  of 
drill  in  reading  and  writing.  In  one  the  children  did  individual 
work;  those  who  were  able  read  by  themselves;  others  wrote 
sentences  from  their  history  on  the  blackboard;  and  one  child 
who  was  behind  the  rest  had  the  teacher's  special  attention. 
The  second  period  was  given  to  blackboard  drill  in  word  build- 
ing by  the  entire  group.  On  the  whole  their  ambition  outran 
their  power  of  accomplishment  to  such  an  extent  that  it  was 
difficult  to  hold  their  interest  in  the  writing. 


s  Careful  planning  was  necessary  on  the  part  of  the  teacher  in  order 
that  the  desire  of  the  children  to  express  themselves  in  writing  should  not 
be  unduly  checked  by  their  lack  of  skill.  When,  in  her  judgment,  interest 
flagged  to  the  point  of  failure,  she  usually  stepped  in  with  a  proposal  that 
she  write  at  their  dictation,  or  in  some  other  way  diverted  their  effort  into 
•channels  affording  a  flow  more  in  accord  with  their  desires. 


LOCAL  HISTORY  149 

THE   DEVELOPMENT   OF   CHICAGO 

The  beginnings  of  localized  history,  such  as  that  of  Chicago, 
have  since  been  so  well  worked  out  in  so  many  places  that  many 
phases  of  this  year's  work  have  been  omitted,  and  only  those 
which  show  how  the  continuity  of  the  story  was  maintained 
are  kept.  Much  time  was  spent  in  discussion  of  the  reasons  for 
the  choice  of  the  site  of  Chicago,  on  its  importance  as  a  strate- 
gic point  in  the  fur  trade  as  well  as  the  natural  meeting  place 
for  the  North  and  the  South,  the  East  and  the  West.  Its  im- 
portance politically  was  brought  out  by  locating  the  territory 
of  the  English  who  now  held  Canada,  and  that  of  the  Spanish, 
who  for  a  time  were  holding  the  west  bank  of  the  Mississippi. 

During  all  this  detailed  study,  much  time  was  spent  in  read- 
ing from  Stories  of  Illinois.  The  children  were  delighted  to 
have  a  book  which  they  could  use  by  themselves.  Several  read 
a  good  deal  at  home.  This  particular  book  proved  a  great  spur 
to  one  child  who  had  been  discouraged  over  his  reading  and 
up  to  this  point  had  insisted  that  he  knew  he  could  not  read 
and  did  not  care  to  have  a  book. 

A  large  map  of  Fort  Dearborn  had  been  made  by  the  group, 
and  the  interest  of  the  children  carried  over  into  the  making 
of  small  individual  maps  of  the  Fort  and  the  surrounding  re- 
gion with  which,  from  constant  reference  to  their  book  maps, 
they  had  become  tolerably  familiar.  One  section  of  the  group 
was  much  more  interested  in  the  map  drawing  than  the  other; 
nearly  all  were  dissatisfied  with  their  first  attempt  and  wished 
to  make  a  second  map.  Some  volunteered  to  work  on  them  at 
home.  One  period  was  spent  in  making  an  outline  of  the  work 
of  the  quarter.  This  was  done  by  asking  the  children  to  suggest 
the  titles  for  a  series  of  stories  on  the  history  of  Chicago.  By 
this  means  a  sequential  statement  of  topics  was  secured  rather 
than  the  disconnected  details  which  children  are  prone  to  offer 
in  such  a  review. 

In  a  subsequent  year,  the  early  settlement  of  Chicago  was 
given  over  to  a  trained  science  teacher  *  who  abridged  the  dis- 


*  Harry  O.  Gillett. 


i5o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

covery  period  and  introduced  other  stories  of  explorers,  which 
brought  out  the  actual  geography  of  the  Lake  region.  This  was 
worked  out  in  a  detailed  sand-map,  by  assigning  a  lake  and  the 
adjoining  country,  or  a  river  and  its  basis  to  each  child.  Nat- 
ural competition,  as  well  as  interest  in  each  other's  work,  gave 
the  children  a  much  better  conception  of  the  relation  of  dif- 
ferent parts  of  a  lake  system  to  each  other  and  of  the  kind  of 
country  bordering  on  each  lake  or  river,  than  if  they  had 
worked  in  rotation  upon  different  parts  of  the  country.  In  the 
construction  of  these  lakes  the  teacher  discovered  many  er- 
roneous notions  of  geography,  such  as  the  general  idea  of  a 
lake  as  an  immense,  slow  river.  They  thought  the  water  ought 
to  flow  right  through  the  lake  and  only  gradually  worked  out 
the  notion  of  a  basin  holding  a  large  amount  of  water  only  a 
small  portion  of  which,  relatively  speaking,  flows  quietly  into 
the  next  lake  at  its  outlet.  The  idea  of  the  great  importance  of 
the  animal  life  in  early  times  was  already  theirs,  so  very  little 
emphasis  was  put  upon  the  dependence  of  the  pioneers  on  this 
source  of  supply.  It  was  necessary,  however,  to  spend  time 
in  developing  the  idea  that  the  Illinois  Indians  possessed  a 
great  asset  in  their  fertile  fields  of  Indian  corn  and  to  bring  out 
the  practical  point  that  the  two  industries  of  greatest  extent 
and  value  for  the  early  settlements  were  farming  and  fur  trad- 
ing. 

The  study  of  the  past  was  finally  linked  to  the  present  by  a 
discussion  of  the  formation  of  village  government  when  a  char- 
ter was  granted  by  the  state.  The  children  formulated  the  vari- 
ous functions  of  such  a  city  government.  They  then  took  up 
those  things  which  were  left  to  individual  initiative  and  were 
surprised  to  find  that'  they  far  exceeded  the  others  in  number. 
In  connection  with  the  organization  of  the  waterworks,  they 
recalled  what  they  had  studied  about  the  sources  of  water  and 
the  means  of  conveying  it.  Most  of  them  understood  the  rela- 
tion of  the  cribs  and  the  pumping-stations  to  the  present  water- 
supply,  but  only  one  or  two  were  able  to  suggest  ways  of  pump- 
ing water  with  such  simple  materials  as  a  hollow  tube  and 
leather  for  a  piston.  The  principle  of  a  pump  was  connected 
directly  with  the  action  of  water  in  the  siphons  which  they  used 


LOCAL  HISTORY  151 

to  carry  water  to  and  from  their  sand-table  lake  and  river.  Al- 
though they  seemed  at  the  time  to  understand  the  theory  of 
the  working  of  a  siphon,  it  was  not  until  the  end  of  the  half 
year  that  they  were  able  successfully  to  fill  and  operate  a  rub- 
ber tube  as  a  siphon.5 

One  year  much  of  the  time  for  construction  work  was  spent 
in  the  building  of  a  model  of  Fort  Dearborn.  This  gave  in- 
terest and  incentive  for  the  development  of  skills,  in  the  han- 
dling of  tools  and  the  use  and  manipulation  of  numbers,  but 
proved  lacking  in  movement  and  too  difficult  an  undertaking 
for  this  age.  In  another  year  the  village  of  Chicago  and  its  en- 
virons were  constructed  in  sand.  The  first  stage-coach  route, 
organized  after  the  completion  of  the  river-bridge,  was  incor- 
porated. Along  this  first  road  the  children  saw  the  beginnings 
of  the  trade  in  cattle,  wheat,  and  other  food  staples,  which  have 
since  made  Chicago  a  commercial  center.  In  the  construction 
of  the  sand-map  of  this  locality  such  points  as  the  formaLon 
of  a  sand-bar  at  the  mouth  of  the  river  were  made  clear.  The 
extreme  flatness  of  the  country  around  Chicago  brought  out 
the  explanation  that  the  locality  is  the  original  bottom  of  an 
old  lake  which  had  its  outlet  into  the  Mississippi  through  the 
Des  Plaines  river,  and  that  the  portage  over  which  the  early 
explorers  dragged  their  canoes  was  a  part  of  the  divide  upon 
one  side  of  which  water  flowed  through  the  Lakes  into  the 
St.  Lawrence  River  and  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  and  on  the  other 
side  down  the  Des  Plaines  and  the  Illinois  Rivers  into  the  Mis- 
sissippi and  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.6  This  work  demonstrated  to 


5  This  seems  to  reenforce  the  theoretical  statement  that  children  of  this 
age  are  not  yet  able  to  apply  easily  any  large  generalization  or  abstraction. 

6  "The  reason  for  the  placing  of  any  settlement  on  the  Chicago  river  at 
all  was  developed  over  and  over  again  without  seeming  to  have  much  mean- 
ing to  this  group  of  children,  whereas  another  class  had  found  no  difficulty 
in  seeing  the  logical  conclusion.  The  former  group  seemed  to  show  less 
power  to  invent  or  reconstruct  probable  situations  or  events;  and  imagina- 
tively to  continue  a  story  beyond  the  point  to  which  discussion  had  pro- 
ceeded. They  possessed,  however,  in  contrast  with  the  other  group,  much 
more  skill  in  written  expression  and,  with  the  exception  of  one  or  two 
individuals,  could,  without  much  effort,  rewrite  in  story-form  any  interest- 
ing part  of  the  actual  narrative."  Report  of  Group  VI,  1902-1903,  Harry  O. 
Gillett. 


152  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  children  the  strategic  position  that  Chicago  held  geograph- 
ically, and  they  were  easily  helped  to  suggest  a  canal  to  connect 
the  Chicago  River  along  the  old  portage  with  the  Des  Plaines. 
They  also  suggested  ways  in  which  the  canal  might  be  paid  for, 
prophesied  the  boom  that  would  result  from  the  demand  for 
cheap  land  in  so  promising  a  place  and,  with  knowledge  of 
what  had  happened,  anticipated  the  collapse  that  would  fol- 
low the  boom.  In  this  the  facts  learned  were  regarded  merely 
as  the  means  for  the  development  of  correct  judgment. 

The  importance  of  Chicago  as  a  commercial  center  was 
viewed  from  the  side  of  geology  by  reading  and  discussing  an 
article  in  a  current  magazine.  This  was  made  the  starting  point 
for  a  somewhat  different  treatment  of  the  study  of  geography. 
Up  to  this  time  this  subject  had  been  considered  as  incidental 
and  in  close  connection  with  the  relation  of  people  to  a  local- 
ity. Following  the  parallel  of  latitude  of  Chicago,  around  the 
world,  the  children  located  and  named  all  the  lands  through 
which  this  parallel  passed.  The  zones  were  then  considered  in 
their  relative  position  to  the  sun,  and  the  countries  in  each 
zone  were  learned.  In  this  way  they  became  familiar  with  the 
names  of  the  continents,  their  relative  sizes,  climates,  and  the 
oceans  separating  them. 

CORRELATED   ACTIVITIES 

The  question  of  the  means  of  transportation  and  of  repre- 
senting it  on  the  sand-map  routes  led  one  group  to  the  con- 
struction of  a  typical  prairie  schooner  such  as  brought  the  fam- 
ilies of  the  east  to  Chicago.  The  work  in  the  textile  room  re- 
ceived many  incentives  from  this  study.  The  development  of 
the  loom  and  weaving  was  studied.  Each  group  worked  out 
special  problems  such  as  finding  a  way  to  stretch  the  warp 
strings  for  regular  weaving.  One  of  the  children  invented  a 
heddle  although  he  had  never  seen  one,  nor  so  far  as  could  be 
discovered,  the  picture  of  one.  The  sewing,  like  the  shop  work, 
was  to  supply  school  needs  in  the  kitchen  or  sewing  room. 

Because  of  lack  of  space  and  opportunities,  little  of  the  ex- 
perimentation along  the  line  of  pioneer  industries  which  had 


LOCAL  HISTORY  153 

been  planned  was  carried  out.  A  number  of  experiments  in 
constructing  the  kinds  of  ovens  used  in  early  days  proved  suc- 
cessful in  holding  the  children's  interest  and  carried  over  into 
an  understanding  of  the  various  principles  of  draft,  choice  of 
material,  etc.  in  the  modern  furnace  and  fireplace. 

The  character  of  the  plant  and  animal  life  found  by  the  ex- 
plorers in  the  Lake  region  was  constantly  emphasized.  Almost 
all  the  children  possessed  a  large  amount  of  information  as  to 
what  animals  live  now  or  have  lived  in  this  region.  They  knew 
something  of  their  habits,  much  more  of  the  uses  of  their  skins, 
and  although  a  sensational  account  of  fierceness,  courage,  or 
the  reverse  was  always  told  first,  an  account  of  the  animal  and 
its  habits  soon  followed.  The  beaver  was  chosen  as  an  animal 
for  special  study  because  of  its  importance  in  the  fur  trade.  The 
children  made  a  list  of  all  animals  belonging  to  the  beaver 
family  and  decided  that  the  common  characteristic  of  all  was 
the  habit  of  gnawing.  The  teeth  were  examined  and  their 
chisel  shape  noted.  The  use  of  the  tail  was  discussed,  whether 
as  a  trowel  in  plastering  the  dam,  or  as  a  rudder. 

Part  of  the  time  given  to  cooking  during  this  year  was  spent 
each  week  on  experimentation  with  the  particular  food  pre- 
pared for  the  class  luncheon.  The  children  investigated  the  na- 
ture of  the  plant  material,  both  as  to  its  use  to  the  plant  and 
its  use  for  food.  This,  in  the  course  of  the  year's  work,  brought 
out  the  functions  of  roots,  stems,  and  leaves,  and  the  forms  in 
which  the  plant  stored  its  reserve  material,  starch,  oils,  and 
albumen.  The  children  were  given  the  ordinary  tests  for  starch 
and  for  oils.  Albumen  they  identified  as  something  similar  to 
the  gluten  which  they  had  extracted  from  wheat.  The  character 
and  uses  of  the  acid  and  mineral  salts  in  certain  foods  were  not 
dealt  with  experimentally,  as  the  points  involved  were  too 
difficult  for  them  to  grasp. 

The  program  was  rounded  out  by  opportunity  for  expres- 
sion or  representation  of  ideas  in  finer  forms  of  activity.  The 
subject-matter  sprang  out  of  and  was  in  line  with  the  main  idea 
of  the  course  and  took  on  the  color  of  its  general  atmosphere. 
The  music  was  a  further  study  of  harmony  practice  in  its  rec- 
ognition and  in  composition,  and  the  expression  of  ideas  of 


i54  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

harmonic  phrases.  In  art,  some  of  the  best  work  of  the  school 
grew  out  of  the  group's  visit  to  the  monument  in  memory  of 
the  Fort  Dearborn  Massacre.  Three  children  posed  as  the  fig- 
ures of  Mrs.  Helm,  her  Indian  assailant,  and  Black  Partridge, 
the  rescuer.  Each  member  of  the  class  also  chose  a  subject  from 
the  life  of  Marquette  to  do  in  clay,  which  was  cast  in  plaster 
and  hung  on  the  studio  walls. 

The  records  give  evidence  of  a  growing  recognition  by  these 
children  of  the  possibility  and  the  desirability  of  obtaining 
more  permanent  and  objective  results  than  had  heretofore 
satisfied  them.  Each  child  had  also  begun  to  realize  that  skill 
in  control  of  means  was  necessary  to  achieve  desired  ends.  The 
previous  vague  and  fluid  unity  of  his  life,  when  mere  play 
satisfied,  was  broken  up. 

Subject-matter  was  chosen  to  meet  and  satisfy  the  needs  and 
demands  of  this  developing  attitude.  From  an  historical  point 
of  view  it  also  differentiated  the  more  vague  and  fluid  unity  of 
the  race  life  into  typical  phases,  when  individuals  and  groups 
of  men  and  women,  actuated  by  various  motives,  met,  con- 
quered, and  controlled  the  specific  conditions  of  frontier  life. 
The  child  followed  in  deed  and  fancy  these  actual  accomplish- 
ments of  mankind  and  realized  the  importance  of  a  command 
of  method  and  of  skills  in  thought  and  action.  The  problem 
for  the  teacher  was  to  use  selected  subject-matter  so  as  to  help 
each  child  recognize  his  own  needs  and  secure  practical  skill 
and  intellectual  control  of  methods  of  work  and  inquiry  which 
would  enable  him  to  realize  results  and  make  contributions  to 
the  group.  In  this  way  learning  and  increasing  ability  were  by- 
products of  purposeful,  helpful,  and  self-directed  activity.  As 
these  particular  children  felt  the  need  of  a  better  method  and 
more  skill  in  picturing  the  routes  their  adventurers  traveled, 
they  were  given  a  cursory  but  helpful  study  of  two  or  more 
types  of  map  projection  which  involved  the  use  of  numbers 
and  the  tools  of  measurement.  The  need  for  accuracy  in  navi- 
gation was  easily  understood,  and  the  children  were  helped  to 
think  out  an  appropriate  method  to  use  in  making  a  dead- 
reckoning.  Their  rather  unusual  ability  to  do  this  was  without 
doubt  due  to  their  unusually  varied  experience.  Again  and 


LOCAL  HISTORY  155 

again  it  was  found  that,  at  this  age  of  development,  children  are 
not  only  willing  but  anxious  to  attain  facility  in  writing  and 
number  work,  in  order  to  carry  on  a  project  to  a  desired  con- 
clusion. 

They  began  also  to  be  somewhat  self-conscious  in  art  and 
found  free  expression  most  easily  in  modeling  where  the  ma- 
terial lent  itself  with  fascinating  ease  to  the  formulation  of  an 
idea.  The  bas-reliefs  of  scenes  from  the  life  of  Marquette  were 
produced  by  this  group.  Comments  in  the  records  reveal  what 
are  perhaps  general  characteristics  of  this  stage— a  tendency  to 
attack  big  enterprises  without  sufficient  planning  and  to  drop 
quickly  before  completion  something  which  proved  more  dif- 
ficult than  expected.  Increasing  ability  to  abstract  and  to  for- 
mulate processes  made  the  children  impatient  of  very  detailed 
experimentation,  and  yet  they  found  such  detailed  work  as 
printing  exceedingly  satisfactory. 

The  additional  afternoon  hour  gave  more  time,  approxi- 
mately two  hours  a  week,  for  studying  technique  in  reading, 
writing,  and  number  work.  In  the  latter  the  method  of  a  proc- 
ess was  worked  out,  and  the  rule  formulated  and  used  in  prac- 
tice until  familiarity  gave  ease  in  performance.  The  balance  of 
added  time  was  given  to  experimental  problems  in  science, 
either  springing  out  of  or  related  to  cooking  or  history.  These 
nine-year-old  children  also  spent  more  time  in  listening  to 
reading,  due  to  the  addition  of  literature  as  a  separate  subject 
with  a  special  teacher.  The  English,  or  literature,  had  two 
forms.  In  one,  emphasis  was  on  esthetic  appreciation  of  stories 
and  poems;  in  the  other,  help  was  given  in  oral  expression. 
German  or  French  was  also  introduced. 

The  study  of  the  settlement  of  the  Northwest  and  of  Chicago 
occupied  half  of  the  school  year.  In  discussing  the  work  of  the 
second  half  year  the  same  group  was  easily  led  to  feel  that  a 
next  logical  step  would  be  to  study  the  settlement  of  part  of 
the  United  States  that  was  unfamiliar  to  them.  A  brief  review 
was  made  of  Columbus  and  other  explorers,  and  the  story  of 
the  first  settlement  of  white  people  in  America  was  sketched. 
The  English  claim  to  North  America  and  the  story  of  the  papal 
decree  which  for  a  time  had  compelled  England  to  keep  her 


156  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

hands  off  the  continent  were  retold.  The  children  were  then 
asked  to  suggest  probable  motives  for  American  colonization. 
The  desire  to  find  gold  was  the  only  reason  first  suggested,  but 
when  the  old-time  search  for  a  northwest  passage  was  recalled 
the  children  thought  it  probable  that  this  would  be  an  addi- 
tional argument  for  settling  in  America.  They  were  reminded 
of  the  hostile  relations  of  England  and  Spain  and  of  the  Span- 
ish trade  in  America,  and  they  saw  that  it  would  be  a  great 
advantage  for  England  to  have  a  hold  in  the  new  country.  One 
child  also  suggested  that  perhaps  England  had  not  land  enough 
at  home  and  wanted  more.  When  told  of  the  economic  condi- 
tions in  England  due  to  the  growth  of  the  wool  industry,  they 
concluded  that  the  farmers  driven  out  of  their  farms  in  Eng- 
land ought  to  come  to  America  and  have  farms  of  their  own 
for  sheep  raising. 

THE  STUDY   OF  VIRGINIA 

Raleigh's  efforts  at  colonization  were  taken  up.7  On  con- 
cluding them,  the  children  decided  that  the  best  plan  for  such 
future  attempts  would  be  the  formation  of  a  company  to  fur- 
nish the  money.  The  East  India  and  the  Muscovy  Companies 
were  touched  on  in  this  connection.  The  children  were  greatly 
interested  in  Captain  Barlowe's  account  of  his  exploration  of 
the  coast  of  Virginia.  In  their  opinion  the  best  argument  for 
colonization  was  the  opportunity  for  new  homes  in  this  fruit- 
ful land.  The  story  of  Captain  John  Smith  then  followed,  and 
a  week  was  spent  on  the  history  of  the  first  year  at  Jamestown. 
The  children  were  able  to  anticipate  in  large  measure  the  di- 
rections given  by  the  London  Company  with  regard  to  the 
choice  of  a  site  and  the  precautions  with  regard  to  the  Indians 
and  other  possible  enemies.  They  were  surprised  that  Smith 
was  not  chosen  for  leader  and  were  sure  that  he  would  be  later 
on.  They  condemned  the  "common  kettle"  in  advance,  saying 
that  the  men  would  be  even  more  lazy  if  that  plan  were  carried 
out  because  they  would  think  some  one  would  provide  for 
them  whether  they  worked  or  not.  This  expression  of  opinion 


f  Course  taught  by  Margaret  Hoblitt. 


LOCAL  HISTORY  157 

came  from  Vl-fc;  Vl-a  was  Inclined  at  first  to  think  that  the 
"common  kettle"  would  be  a  good  thing.  The  children  felt  the 
value  of  Smith's  early  experience  and  his  self-inflicted  discipline 
as  a  preparation  for  leadership.  In  VI-a  this  led  to  a  conversa- 
tion as  to  the  children's  plans  for  the  future.  They  decided  that 
it  was  a  good  thing  for  a  boy  to  look  ahead  to  the  life  he  ex- 
pected to  lead  when  a  man  and  prepare  for  it. 

The  story  of  Smith's  return  to  England  was  discussed  briefly 
and  was  followed  by  the  administration  of  Percy,  Lord  Dela- 
ware, and  Sir  Thomas  Dale.  The  children  were  surprised  to 
find  that  even  after  Delaware  had  established  a  new  order  of 
things  and  restored  order  in  the  settlement,  Percy  in  his  second 
attempt  was  unable  to  enforce  the  laws  and  control  the  colony. 
They  asked  whether  he  had  not  had  the  same  power  which 
Delaware  had  possessed,  and  why,  if  he  had,  he  did  not  make 
as  good  a  governor.  They  were  reminded  that  in  their  group 
they  found  one  child  a  better  leader  than  another,  although 
the  conditions  under  which  they  acted  and  the  authority  they 
possessed  were  the  same.  They  were  led  to  suggest  the  abolition 
of  the  "common  kettle"  and  the  establishment  of  a  system  of 
land  tenure  before  they  were  told  of  the  institution  of  this  same 
reform  by  Sir  Thomas  Dale. 

The  cultivation  of  tobacco,  the  story  of  its  introduction  into 
England  by  Sir  Walter  Raleigh,  and  the  growing  demand  for 
it  there  were  told.  The  necessity  in  Virginia  for  some  develop- 
ment of  the  country's  resources  in  order  to  satisfy  the  expecta- 
tions of  those  interested  in  England  entered  the  discussion. 
Some  time  was  spent  on  the  administration  of  Argall  and  the 
events  which  led  up  to  the  establishment  of  representative  gov- 
ernment in  Virginia  on  the  basis  of  a  new  charter.  The  oppor- 
tunity for  a  new  form  of  government  offered  by  the  revision  of 
the  charter  was  presented,  and  when  asked  what  kind  of  gov- 
ernment the  people  of  Virginia  would  choose  if  they  had  their 
own  choice,  the  group  proposed  that  form  in  which  the  people 
themselves  could  have  a  voice.  They  were  asked  if  this  meant 
that  all  citizens  were  to  vote  directly  upon  the  laws  that  were 
to  be  made,  but  they  said,  "No,  each  settlement  ought  to  choose 
some  one  to  vote  for  them,  just  as  we  do  now."  The  actual  plan 


i58  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  then  presented,  and  the  coming  of  Governor  Yardley  and 
the  first  meeting  of  the  assembly  described.  The  children  sug- 
gested some  of  the  matters  which  would  be  probable  subjects 
of  legislation;  the  amount  of  taxation  and  the  treatment  of  the 
Indians  were  among  these. 

The  study  continued  with  a  detailed  consideration  of  the 
house  and  life  of  a  Virginia  planter  and  his  family,  the  rela- 
tions of  the  colony  with  the  Indians,  its  subsequent  political 
history,  and  the  changing  status  of  its  relations  with  the  mother- 
country.  Many  questions  were  asked  with  regard  to  contempo- 
raneous English  history.  The  children  were  jubilant  over  the 
death  of  James  in  time  to  save  Virginia  from  the  kind  of  char- 
ter which  they  felt  sure  he  would  have  made  and  agreed  that 
under  the  new  conditions  the  colony  would  be  more  independ- 
ent than  it  had  been  under  the  Company.  They  then  passed  to 
the  period  of  Bacon's  Rebellion,  taking  up  the  Navigation 
Laws,  the  arbitrary  rule  of  Berkeley,  and  the  Indian  troubles 
as  the  causes  for  popular  discontent.  In  Group  VI-a  party  feel- 
ing ran  high,  the  sentiment  of  the  majority  being  that  the  gov- 
ernor was  right.  The  similarity  in  the  character  of  Bacon's  dec- 
laration to  that  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  just  a 
hundred  years  later,  was  noted,  but  the  significance  of  the 
earlier  rebellion  seemed  to  make  little  impression  on  the  chil- 
dren. At  the  close  of  the  study  a  general  summary  was  made 
by  the  group  and  teacher,  followed  by  a  review  in  which  the 
children  quizzed  each  other  with  considerable  rivalry  as  to  who 
could  ask  the  hardest  questions. 

THE  STUDY  OF  PLYMOUTH  COLONY 

The  study  of  the  Plymouth  Colony  was  then  begun.8  The 
children  had  already  learned  something  of  the  religious  dif- 
ferences in  England,  and  of  the  religious  freedom  which  the 
people  of  Holland  had  won  for  themselves.  When  the  story 
of  the  Scrooby  Congregation  was  taken  up,  they  were  accord- 
ingly ready  to  suggest  that  the  people  go  to  Holland  to  live 


s  Course  taught  by  Georgia  F.  Bacon, 


LOCAL  HISTORY  159 

when  they  no  longer  felt  safe  in  England.  They  also  suggested 
the  departure  from  Holland  to  America.  The  question  was 
asked  as  to  how  they  could  obtain  the  necessary  funds,  and 
finally  it  was  suggested  that  they  borrow  money  and  promise 
to  pay  back  the  value  of  it  in  timber  and  anything  they  could 
find  in  America  that  would  be  of  value  to  the  merchants  in 
England  who  would  lend  them  the  money. 

The  story  continued  with  the  settling  of  Plymouth.  Brad- 
ford's account  was  read  to  secure  a  description  of  the  country 
and  the  first  experience  ashore.  The  children  asked  what  the 
women  did  while  the  men  went  ashore  and  were  told  of  the 
first  wash  day  on  Cape  Cod.  They  planned  the  division  of  the 
company  into  families,  allotting  the  single  men  to  homes  with 
some  one  else,  and  asked  eagerly  for  the  men  with  whose  names 
they  had  already  become  familiar.  They  decided  also  that  the 
first  building  would  have  to  be  a  fort  and  after  that  a  common 
house  for  their  supplies.  In  this  connection,  they  expressed  the 
opinion  that  the  idea  of  having  everything  in  common  was  a 
bad  one,  but  it  was  more  likely  to  succeed  here  than  in  Vir- 
ginia, on  account  of  the  difference  in  the  character  of  the  two 
companies.  When  asked  to  plan  for  the  distribution  of  land  so 
that  no  one  should  be  favored  more  than  another,  they  pro- 
posed first  that  the  governor  make  the  allotments,  and  then 
the  best  places  be  set  aside  and  not  used  at  all.  This  seemed  a 
needless  sacrifice  and  far  from  solving  the  problem.  At  last,  one 
of  the  children  proposed  that  the  Pilgrims  draw  lots  for  their 
plots  of  land. 

The  children  were  asked  if  they  thought  people  could  be 
found  now-a-days  who  would  be  willing  to  endure  the  hard- 
ships which  the  Pilgrims  encountered  for  the  sake  of  their  re- 
ligion. Some  said  no,  and  some  said  yes.  The  lad  who  was  on 
the  negative  said  that  "people  are  too  much  hothouse  plants 
now-a-days."  The  others  were  to  support  the  other  side,  but 
failed  to  do  so.  They  were  then  told  briefly  of  the  "spirit  wres- 
tlers" who  have  come  to  Canada  to  find  a  home  where  they  can 
be  free— or  hope  to  be— to  live  as  they  think  right,  and  of  Tol- 
stoi's sacrifices  for  the  sake  of  a  principle.  In  the  latter  they 
were  much  interested,  asking  many  questions. 


i6o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  usual  periodic  review  was  given  for  the  benefit  of  a  long 
absent  member  and  proved  to  be  the  best  thing  they  had  yet 
done.  One  child  who  had  never  before  been  able  to  offer  any- 
thing but  detached  statements  was  able  to  carry  the  story  along 
without  hesitation  and  with  a  good  grasp  both  of  the  general 
sequence  and  details.  Formulation  of  what  they  had  done  had 
at  last  ceased  to  be  unpleasant  to  them. 

Reading  was  continued  from  various  texts.  The  children 
were  anxious  for  more  details  than  could  be  supplied.  Names 
of  people  and  ships,  those  who  died,  and  others  who  were  mar- 
ried were  among  the  things  eagerly  sought  after.  Among  other 
things  the  question  of  the  common  house  was  once  more  dis- 
cussed. The  children  had  long  anticipated  the  time  when  the 
common  store  would  be  given  up,  and  were  ready  for  the  trial 
of  an  individual  allotment  of  land  in  order  to  encourage  better 
effort  in  the  trying  times  of  1624.  They  said  they  thought  that 
men  would  work  better  if  they  had  a  chance  to  keep  the  results 
of  the  work  themselves,  and  that  there  would  be  some  who 
would  not  work  at  all  if  they  could  live  without  it. 

DEVELOPMENT  OF  THE   TOOLS   OF   EXPRESSION 

A  period  was  given  to  finishing  their  written  stories  and  one 
to  reading  them  aloud.  This  exercise  gave  an  opportunity  for 
a  review  of  the  work  on  the  Plymouth  Colony  in  which  the  chil- 
dren were  asked  questions  suggested  by  their  papers.  Later  each 
child  chose  some  topic  from  the  story  of  the  Pilgrims.  One  be- 
gan at  the  beginning;  another  chose  the  first  encounter;  and 
some  could  not  choose  without  help.  The  papers  were  much 
better  than  those  that  they  had  composed  as  a  group  by  dictat- 
ing to  the  teacher  and  then  copying  from  the  blackboard.  The 
children  worked  much  more  industriously,  tired  of  their  work 
less  quickly,  and  showed  greater  freedom  of  expression.  The 
work  was  continued  through  the  second  period  at  their  own 
request,  and  one  period  was  given  to  spelling  a  list  of  words 
which  they  had  needed  in  their  writing. 

Subsequent  periods  were  spent  in  reading  aloud  the  story  of 
William  Blackstone  and  the  coming  of  the  Puritans  from  Pil- 


A    BUSY    MORNING   IN    THE   TEXTILE   STUDIO 


LOCAL  HISTORY  161 

grims  and  Puritans.  A  list  in  writing  was  made  of  the  principal 
events  of  this  period  of  history,  with  the  dates.  This  was  the 
result  of  a  discussion  in  which  some  of  the  children  had  shown 
rather  hazy  notions  of  the  sequence  of  events,  and  they  took 
great  interest  in  straightening  things  out  and,  when  the  papers 
were  finished,  declared  that  they  must  be  taken  care  of,  for 
they  "were  worth  saving." 

The  story  of  the  coming  of  the  Puritans,  introduced  a  discus- 
sion of  the  settlements  made  by  Roger  Williams,  Thomas 
Hooker,  and  others  who  found  the  rule  of  the  Puritans  too  op- 
pressive. The  departure  of  Blackstone  in  order  to  free  himself 
from  the  "Lord  Brethren"  was  the  starting  point  of  the  dis- 
cussion. The  children  were  divided  as  to  the  amount  of  re- 
ligious liberty  which  ought  to  have  been  allowed.  One  said  that 
the  Puritans  had  a  right  to  any  plan  they  chose  and  ought  to 
be  allowed  to  make  church  membership  a  condition  of  citizen- 
ship if  that  seemed  the  right  thing  to  do.  There  was  plenty  of 
room,  so  that  those  who  did  not  agree  to  this  could  find  another 
place  and  live  in  their  own  way.  The  same  question  came  up 
again  in  connection  with  the  story  of  Roger  Williams.  There 
was  also  a  similar  division  with  regard  to  his  criticism  of  the 
settlers  for  dispossessing  the  Indians  of  their  land.  One  said 
that  there  was  room  enough  for  the  Indians  and  the  white  peo- 
ple too,  and  that  the  Indians  did  not  care  very  much  where 
they  lived  anyway— this  inference  being  drawn  from  the  fact 
that  they  were  in  the  habit  of  roaming  from  place  to  place.  It 
was,  therefore,  all  right  for  the  white  people  to  take  all  the 
land  they  wanted,  if  they  did  not  drive  the  Indians  from  land 
which  they  were  actually  occupying.  The  children  saw  that  the 
religious  intolerance  of  the  earlier  settlements  was  an  aid  to  the 
growth  of  the  new  country,  since  there  would  be  less  reason 
for  people  to  scatter  if  the  terms  on  which  they  were  admitted 
to  the  older  settlements  had  been  less  severe.  Before  leaving 
the  history  of  the  New  England  colonies,  the  children  worked 
out  the  formation  of  the  Federation  of  '43,  with  the  causes 
which  led  to  it,  its  advantages,  and  its  weaknesses. 

The  children  read  accounts  of  the  early  settlement  in  New 
York.  They  were  told  something  of  the  Muscovy  and  the  United 


i6s>  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

States  India  Companies,  saw  the  opportunities  for  trade  opened 
up  by  Hudson's  discovery,  and  were  led  to  suggest  a  West  India 
Company.  Young  Puritans  of  Old  Hadley,  was  read  aloud. 
The  book  proved  rather  too  difficult  for  the  children  to  read 
by  themselves.  They  later  proceeded  to  work  out  the  probable 
course  of  events  in  the  settlement  of  New  York. 

A  study  of  the  physiography  and  geography  of  the  coast  col- 
onies was  earned  on  with  the  history  study  and  was  similar  to 
the  study  of  the  environs  of  Chicago.  It  was  supplemented  by 
experiments  in  plant  physiology.  The  topography  of  Virginia 
furnished  topics  for  the  study  of  the  formation  of  a  river  system 
and  of  a  mountain-range  and  was  also  considered  in  relation 
to  the  gradually  developing  social  life  of  Virginia.  At  the  be- 
ginning of  the  study  an  attempt  was  made  to  get  the  children 
to  eliminate,  one  by  one,  the  conveniences  of  civilization  with 
which  they  were  familiar  until  they  began  to  realize  how  it 
would  seem  to  live  in  America  without  a  single  railroad,  steam- 
boat, or  road  of  any  kind  except  Indian  trails  and  rivers;  to  be 
dependent  upon  England  for  every  yard  of  cloth  not  brought 
with  them,  for  salt,  pepper,  sugar,  vinegar,  tea,  coffee,  and  so 
on;  to  have  no  fuel  except  wood,  no  means  of  lighting  a  fire 
except  flint,  no  oil  for  lamps,  no  lumber  but  hand-hewn  logs. 
When  the  children  had  sufficiently  imagined  the  conditions  of 
pioneer  life,  they  were  able  to  picture  the  English  settlement 
of  Virginia,  as  they  had  that  of  Chicago,  in  its  physical  setting 
and  could  then  reconstruct  more  easily  the  typical  industries 
that  would  occupy  the  people  of  each  colony.  As  they  followed 
the  development  and  progress  made  in  these  activities,  the 
growing  organization  of  social  life  became  more  clear. 

In  their  study  of  the  probable  equipment  of  a  colonial  house 
the  use  of  pewter  dishes  was  mentioned.  In  response  to  a  very 
evident  and  real  curiosity  an  experiment  was  arranged  to  help 
them  discover  for  themselves  the  constituency  of  pewter.  When 
the  children  found  that  it  would  mark  paper,  they  at  first  pro- 
nounced it  lead  with  which  they  had  worked  the  year  before. 
The  next  test  suggested  was  the  melting  point.  They  found  this 
to  be  higher  than  that  of  lead.  It  was  then  suggested  that  it 
must  be  mixed  with  some  harder  metal,  such  as  zinc;  and  zinc 


LOCAL  HISTORY  163 

and  lead  were  fused,  cooled,  and  melted  again  to  determine  the 
time  required  to  melt  a  given  quantity.  While  the  melting 
point  of  zinc  or  lead  alone  was  low,  when  combined  it  was 
found  to  be  high.  It  was  then  suggested  that  tin  be  added  to 
see  its  effect  upon  the  combination.  Zinc,  lead,  and  tin  were 
then  fused,  and  the  combination  found  to  be  nearer  that  of 
pewter.  Bismuth  brought  the  alloy  still  nearer.  The  children 
were  then  told  that  sometimes  antimony  and  copper  were  also 
added  and  were  given  the  approximate  formula  that  was  used 
in  colonial  times:  80  per  cent  tin,  7  per  cent  antimony,  2  per 
cent  copper,  2  per  cent  bismuth,  9  per  cent  lead.  The  pewter 
made  was  pressed  into  thin  sheets  between  smoked  pieces  of 
zinc  and  then  hammered  into  miniature  dishes.  While  working 
with  the  different  metals,  many  questions  were  asked  and  an- 
swered concerning  tests  for  various  metals  and  methods  of  pre- 
paring them  for  use.  Other  work  in  science  was  divided  be- 
tween the  actual  work  of  planting  and  caring  for  gardens  and 
the  experiments  connected  with  an  understanding  of  plant  life. 

In  art  work  the  children  were  able  to  express  their  ideas  in 
clay  and  were  given  their  first  instruction  in  modeling  large 
pieces.  Their  models  of  the  Bary£  lion  and  tiger  were  each 
fourteen  inches  in  length  and  were  cast  in  plaster  of  Paris  when 
finished.  The  responsibility  of  keeping  the  clay  moist  between 
lessons  was  placed  upon  the  children,  and  their  interest  in  mak- 
ing good  reproductions  kept  up  to  the  end.  As  these  pieces  were 
large  and  took  a  good  deal  of  time,  they  were  occasionally  laid 
aside  for  a  lesson  in  sketching  or  designing. 

Some  of  the  children  in  this  group  were  tone-deaf  and  re- 
ceived individual  instruction  in  music.  It  was  found  that  they 
could  most  easily  recognize  and  imitate  the  G  above  middle 
C,  and  could  then  go  to  B  or  D  above.  These  notes  were  then 
combined  in  the  time  of  a  trumpet  or  tally-ho  call.  From  these 
notes  the  more  difficult  intervals  were  taken  up.  Considerable 
success  attended  this  method,  and  the  children  who  before 
had  not  beeen  interested  in  the  composition  of  class  songs  or 
class  music  were  able  to  help  as  well  as  enjoy. 

Physical  culture  for  this  group  was,  in  pleasant  weather,  out- 
door games  under  the  direction  of  the  instructor  and,  at  other 


164  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

times,  indoor  drills.  Special  attention  was  paid  to  planning 
movements  and  acquiring  quick  perceptions.9 

In  this  year  a  beginning  was  made  in  differentiation  of 
studies.  In  addition,  therefore,  to  the  number  problems  that 
arose  in  connection  with  other  subjects,  a  special  time  was 
given  to  drill  in  number  work.  In  connection  with  cooking, 
problems  arose  which  could  be  solved  by  actual  measurement. 
For  example:  if  one-fourth  of  a  cup  of  wheatena  (the  right 
amount  for  one  person)  requires  one-fourth  of  a  cup  of  water, 
how  much  cereal  and  how  much  water  will  be  needed  to  cook 
cereal  for  six  (or  more)  children?  The  child  to  whom  the  duty 
of  cooking  the  cereal  was  given  could  measure  the  quantities, 
but  this  was  easily  seen  to  be  a  tedious  process,  so  the  question 
of  finding  a  quicker  way  was  taken  up  in  a  separate  hour.  The 
process  used  was  that  of  adding  small  units  and  then  grouping 
them  in  larger  ones,  as  the  children  had  not  studied  multiplica- 
tion or  division.  The  addition  was  also  seen  to  be  a  slow  way, 
and  the  shorter  process  of  multiplication  was  explained. 

SUMMARY 

Group  VI  had  now  completed  their  sixth  year  of  the  study 
of  social  life  as  mirrored  in  its  occupations.  The  first  three 
years  their  interests  had  been  in  persons— their  actions  and  the 
products  of  their  activity.  The  view  of  society  had  been  a  static 
one.  It  had  not  been  actively  concerned  with  how  these  had 
come  to  be,  although  curiosity  had  been  gradually  awakening. 
The  fourth  year's  work  centered  in  the  study  of  early  civiliza- 
tions and  the  gradual  development  of  social  life  through  dis- 
covery and  invention.  In  this  year  the  children  also  began  to 
see  in  a  dim  way  that  the  physical  world  and  all  its  life  are  the 
result  of  the  evolutionary  process.  In  the  fifth  year,  by  follow- 
ing a  few  of  the  great  migrations  and  explorations  that  opened 
up  the  continents  of  the  world,  they  built  up  an  idea  of  the 
world  as  a  whole,  both  racially  and  geographically.  In  their 
imaginary  travels  they  acquired  some  knowledge  of  the  place 


«  Elementary  School  Record,  October,  1900. 


LOCAL  HISTORY  165 

of  the  earth  in  the  universe  and  its  large  physical  forces  and  of 
the  means  that  man  has  used  to  meet  or  employ  them.  They 
then  settled  down  to  the  study  of  a  specific  people  in  a  specific 
way  and  learned  how,  through  the  agency  of  individuals, 
groups  of  persons  have  subdued  the  untoward  elements  of 
their  physical  environments  and  have  utilized  the  favorable 
ones.  By  a  more  or  less  differentiated  study  of  the  physical  set- 
ting (including  its  biological  aspect)  they  came  to  realize  some- 
thing of  the  effect  of  environment  upon  the  occupations  of  a 
group  of  people,  and  the  resultant  type  of  the  organization  and 
character  of  social  life.10  At  the  same  time,  through  an  ever 
greater  participation  in  the  general  social  activities  of  the 
school  (printing,  assembly,  outdoor  and  indoor  games),  these 
children  consciously  or  unconsciously  utilized  their  subject- 
matter  in  their  present  community  living. 

10  Georgia  F.  Bacon,  "History,"  Elementary  School  Record,  November, 
1900.  This  section  contains  the  substance  of  the  above  article. 


CHAPTER    IX 

COLONIAL     HISTORY     AND 
THE     REVOLUTION 

GROUP  vii  (AGE  TEN) 

^NE  of  the  sections  of  Group  VII  was  under  the  direction 
of  the  head  of  the  textile  department,  and  the  other  of  the 
director  of  history.1  These  groups  met  in  one  of  the  dining 
rooms  and  in  one  end  of  the  kitchen  laboratory,  which  was 
also  used  for  discussion  and  recitation.  Their  study  centered 
around  the  activities  of  the  colonial  period.  The  study  of  the 
development  of  the  textile  industry  set  the  trend  of  their  in- 
terests, which  were  mainly  in  the  invention  of  mechanical  de- 
vices and  the  discovery  of  processes.  There  was  an  increasing 
amount  of  individual  research  at  the  ten-year-old  level  and  a 
corresponding  gain  in  the  power  of  self-direction. 

It  had  been  assumed,  up  to  this  time,  that  the  interests  and 
attitudes  of  boys  and  girls  were  similar,  as  no  marked  dif- 
ferences had  been  observed.  One  of  the  first  instances  of  a  dif- 
ference, probably  reflecting  the  study  of  the  colonial  period, 
was  the  division  of  labor  which  naturally  developed  in  the 
construction  of  the  colonial  room,  one  of  the  projects  under- 
taken as  a  group.  The  boys,  of  their  own  volition,  chose  to 
build  the  furniture  for  the  room,  and  the  girls  undertook  the 
making  of  the  bedding,  rugs,  and  other  fabric  equipment. 
However,  both  worked  together  on  the  construction  of  the 
fireplace,  which  was  an  entirely  new  enterprise  and,  therefore, 
highly  interesting  to  all.  There  was  a  marked  increase  in  the 
amount  of  time  given  to  chosen  interests  and  activities  in  out- 


i  Althea  Hanner,  Georgia  F.  Bacon. 

166 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  167 

of-school  hours,  which  was  a  happy  indication  of  the  good  re- 
sults of  self-initiated,  self-directed,  and  increasingly  meaning- 
ful occupations.  There  was  great  inequality  in  the  ability  of 
the  group  in  using  die  tools  of  communication.  Consequently, 
it  must  be  kept  in  mind  that  the  basis  of  grouping  was  not  skill 
in  the  use  of  any  kind  of  tool,  nor  chronological  age.  It  was 
harmony  and  fitness  as  revealed  in  social  attitude.  This  har- 
mony was  often  disturbed  by  the  introduction  of  pupils  from 
other  schools. 

THE   STORY   OF  THE  AMERICAN   COLONIES 

The  history  for  this  group  was  a  study  of  the  growth  of 
unity  among  the  different  colonies,  the  resultant  growing  in 
independence  of  England,  and  the  social  and  political  develop- 
ment that  followed.  One  week  was  spent  in  reviewing  the  con- 
ditions in  America,  previous  to  the  revolution.  The  develop- 
ment in  government,  the  cooperation  needed  among  the 
colonies,  and  the  growth  of  the  home  industries  were  discussed. 
The  group  talked  of  the  various  ways  that  the  colonists  be- 
came acquainted  through  the  growth  of  the  longshore  trade 
and  the  increased  travel  on  the  improved  main  highways,  such 
as  the  road  from  Boston  to  Philadelphia.  Correlative  with  this, 
they  studied  the  geography  of  the  colonies  and  the  develop- 
ment of  agriculture,  how  the  homes  and  towns  and  villages 
were  organized  and  governed,  and  the  various  industries  that 
occupied  the  people.2 

As  class  and  teacher  grew  acquainted,  many  in  the  group 
were  found  deficient  in  ability  to  read  or  write  with  ease  and 
proficiency.  In  consequence  and  after  discussion,  the  group 
decided  to  give,  for  a  period,  much  time  and  attention  to  col- 
lateral reading.  This  reading  was  planned  to  give  a  review  of 
work  previously  covered  and  to  lead  up  to  the  period  imme- 
diately preceding  the  revolution.  Writing  lessons  were  also 
begun,  supplemented  with  drill  exercises  on  words  or  con- 
struction that  troubled  them.  Most  of  the  children  entered  into 


2  Course  given  by  Georgia  F.  Bacon. 


i68  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

this  arrangement  with  whole-hearted  acceptance  of  its  being 
the  best  way  out  o£  a  bad  situation.  They  recognized  that  they 
could  not  go  on  with  the  term's  work  until  they  could  read 
the  books  that  held  the  necessary  information.  Each  day  they 
asked  for  a  lesson  to  prepare  at  home,  and  at  the  end  of  the 
three  months,  with  the  exception  of  two  children,  they  were 
able  to  read  independently  enough  so  that  regular  historical 
work  was  again  resumed. 

In  reviewing  the  work  of  the  previous  year  on  the  Virginia 
and  Plymouth  Colonies  for  the  benefit  of  the  children  who  had 
not  done  that  work,  the  social  differences  between  the  two 
colonies  seem  to  have  made  a  great  impression  on  the  group. 
Their  work  on  the  products  of  New  York  carried  them  into 
a  discussion  of  the  kinds  of  occupations  which  could  be  carried 
on  in  such  a  country  as  Holland.  They  concluded  that  the 
Dutch  necessarily  would  be  a  commercial  and  manufacturing 
people,  and  were  told  of  the  commerce  of  the  Dutch  with  the 
East  Indies  and  of  the  length  of  time  it  took  to  make  the  trip. 
They  looked  at  the  map  and  concluded  that  it  would  be  much 
shorter  to  go  straight  west,  if  only  America  were  not  in  the 
way.  They  knew  from  their  study  of  the  Virginia  Colony  that 
the  Europeans  believed  the  American  continent  extended  only 
as  far  west  as  the  Allegheny  Mountains,  and  that  the  great  aim 
and  end  of  all  discoveries  at  this  time  was  to  find  the  rumored 
passage  which  extended  through  the  continent. 

The  discoveries  and  explorations  of  Henry  Hudson,  the 
formation  of  the  great  companies,  and  the  necessity  of  asso- 
ciated capital  for  the  great  enterprises  of  the  time  were  dis- 
cussed. The  group  followed  Hudson  on  his  trip  up  the  Hudson 
River,  heard  of  his  seizure  by  the  English  and  his  second  trip 
to  Hudson  Bay  under  the  patronage  of  the  English  people. 
They  referred  constantly  to  the  map,  traced  out  the  country 
drained  by  the  tributaries  of  the  Hudson  Bay,  and  were  inter- 
ested to  know  that  this  territory  had  since  changed  hands.  They 
then  took  up  the  establishment  of  trading  posts  at  Fort  Orange, 
discussed  the  fact  that  only  men  came  over  at  first  and  the 
company's  feeling  that  they  must  induce  families  to  accompany 
them  so  that  the  trade  with  the  Indians  might  be  permanent. 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  169 

For  a  better  understanding  of  the  manorial  relationship,  they 
were  told  of  the  old  feudal  system  of  Europe  and  were  much 
amused  by  the  fact  that,  after  it  had  been  discarded  in  the  old 
country  because  it  did  not  work,  people  could  be  so  stupid  as 
to  establish  it  in  this  country. 

The  home  life  of  the  colonists  on  the  manor  in  New  York 
was  taken  up,  and  the  construction  and  furnishings  of  their 
log  cabins,  the  clothing  they  wore,  and  the  food  they  ate  were 
all  imagined.  They  then  discussed  the  crops  raised,  the  neces- 
sary preparation  for  market,  the  mills  which  were  run  by 
wind  power,  and  the  markets  to  which  the  grain  was  sent.  Each 
day  one  child  reviewed  the  work  of  the  day  before,  the  rest 
supplementing.  To  this  story  the  teacher  added  enough  mate- 
rial to  keep  it  moving. 

THE   FURNISHING   OF  A   COLONIAL  ROOM 

In  connection  with  this  rather  extended  and  detailed  study 
of  the  home  life  of  colonial  times,  the  group  planned  and  car- 
ried through  the  furnishing  of  a  colonial  room.3  The  first  deci- 
sion was  for  a  fireplace  large  enough  for  an  actual  fire,  and 
stones  were  immediately  collected  and  sorted.  A  four-post  bed- 
stead was  planned,  a  colonial  chair,  a  tall  clock,  and  a  spinning- 
wheel.  The  girls  said  they  would  dress  a  colonial  doll  for  the 
room  and  weave  a  rug  for  the  floor.  Work  was  begun  on  the 
furniture,  and  in  fourteen  days  they  had  finished  the  bedstead, 
the  feather  bed  and  bedding  for  which  were  made  at  home. 
The  stone  was  ready  for  the  fireplace  and  work  had  started 
on  the  clock,  the  spinning-wheel,  the  table,  and  the  chairs.  In 
this  process  all  the  suggestions  originated  with  the  children, 
who  also  brought  in  drawings  of  their  plans.  The  fireplace  was 
a  group  undertaking.  The  pattern  was  drawn;  the  chimney  and 
the  hearth  were  lined  with  asbestos.  In  their  first  attempt  at 
mortar,  the  lime  had  not  been  slaked,  so  they  pounded  and 
wet  it  and  used  it  immediately.  This  seemed  to  work  all  right 

*  This  project  was  under  the  supervision  of  the  shop  director,  Elizabeth 
Jones,  although  the  cooperation  of  the  textile  and  art  departments  was 
much  solicited. 


170  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

at  first,  but  the  mortar  when  dry,  crumbled,  "So,"  the  report 
reads,  "we  shall  have  to  do  the  work  all  over  again."  The  tall 
clock,  one  chair,  the  center  table,  and  the  rag  carpet  for  the 
floor  were  completed.  This  took  two  weeks,  then  they  started 
rebuilding  the  fireplace.  The  old  mortar  was  cleaned  off  and 
more  stones  collected.  This  time  the  water  was  put  on  the  lime 
at  night  and  allowed  to  stand  in  order  to  slake  adequately,  with 
the  result  that  the  mortar  hardened  properly.  The  whole  group 
of  children  worked  for  a  half-hour  period,  and  two  remained 
to  finish  it.  Bent  iron  was  used  as  a  frame  to  hold  the  stone 
work  of  the  flue,  and  the  crane  they  had  made  was  placed  in 
the  fireplace  as  they  built  it.  There  was  great  excitement  upon 
the  occasion  of  lighting  the  first  fire  and  great  joy  and  satisfac- 
tion at  finding  that  the  flue  drew  well.  One  of  the  boys,  quite 
unaided,  contrived  a  little  spinning-wheel  on  his  own  scroll- 
saw  at  home.  The  window  spaces  were  cut,  window  casings 
made,  and  the  glass  fitted  to  place.  One  of  the  children  brought 
a  small  mirror;  a  circular  frame  was  made  for  it;  and  a  picture 
of  George  Washington  was  hung  upon  the  wall.  This  group 
spent  more  time  in  the  shop  than  any  other  one  group.  The 
children  worked  as  individuals  as  well  as  cooperatively  and 
discovered  for  themselves  the  use  of  mechanical  drawing  in 
making  their  plans.  These  were  well  drawn  and  exact  and  were 
found  good  guides  in  cutting  the  wood.  The  place  in  their 
method  of  an  exact  working  drawing,  therefore,  was  more 
secure  than  if  they  had  been  required  to  use  it  through  all  the 
previous  years  when  exactness  was  not  a  fundamental  necessity, 
and  the  formation  of  a  habit  of  the  use  of  an  exact  method  was 
weighted  with  an  emotional  pleasure  which  made  it  a  per- 
manent acquisition.  In  addition,  they  also  constructed  a  large 
loom  and  shuttles  for  use  in  their  textile  work  and  caned  a 
number  of  chairs  for  the  school. 

The  time  and  labor  which  the  group  expended  in  furnish- 
ing this  room  brought  home  to  them  something  of  what  it 
meant  to  the  pioneer  families  to  be  dependent  upon  them- 
selves for  shelter,  for  food,  and  for  clothing.  They  saw  how  the 
beginnings  of  many  occupations  and  industries  rose  out  of  real 
and  pressing  need,  how  certain  individuals  and  communities 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  171 

became  experts  in  making  certain  things  or  in  raising  certain 
crops,  and  how  trade  began.  As  the  means  of  communication 
improved,  the  exchange  of  various  products,  the  growth  of 
agriculture,  the  home  manufacture,  and  commerce  with  the 
mother  country  also  increased.  The  children  compared  the 
social  life  of  New  England  with  that  of  the  Southern  colonies 
and  discussed  the  products  that  would  probably  be  exchanged. 
They  decided  that  New  England  would  lead  in  the  manu- 
factured products,  and  the  South  in  farm  produce.  They  saw 
that  this  rapidly  growing  trade  between  the  colonies  would  do 
much  to  knit  them  together,  to  make  them  more  dependent 
upon  each  other  and  less  dependent  upon  England,  and  would 
lead  to  jealousy  and  interference  by  England. 

To  make  this  a  concrete  experience  each  child  became  an 
imaginary  captain  who  described  his  home,  telling  what  long- 
shore cargo  he  carried,  where  he  unloaded,  and  what  he  took 
with  him  on  the  return  journey.  They  were  told  the  current 
point  of  view— that  the  colony  existed  primarily  for  the  good 
of  the  mother-country.  Then  followed  much  discussion  as  to 
how  England  would  be  able  to  make  money  out  of  the  colonies. 
This  introduced  the  Navigation  Laws,  and  each  child  pointed 
out  his  idea  of  the  effect  these  laws  might  have  on  the  pros- 
perity of  his  captain.  The  development  of  the  home  industries, 
which  resulted  from  restrictions  put  upon  trade  by  the  mother- 
country,  and  worked  out  in  great  detail,  the  wool  industry 
being  chosen  for  special  study.  The  children  were  expected  to 
do  most  of  their  own  reading.  Reference  was  made  afterwards 
to  the  map,  and  helpful  geographical  facts  were  explained.  The 
usual  procedure  was  to  draw  a  quick  map  of  the  eastern  part 
of  the  United  States  with  strong  characteristics  of  the  coast 
line,  and  on  this  were  located  the  places  and  incidents  dis- 
cussed. 

THE  STUDY   OF  THE  REVOLUTION 

The  study  of  the  French  and  Indian  War  was  then  re- 
viewed. The  children  saw  that  this  war  had  taught  the  colonists 
their  own  power  and  had  given  them  military  ability  and 
training.  The  question  then  came  up  as  to  who  should  pay  for 


172  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  war,  and  the  children  read  the  story  of  the  Stamp  Act  and 
its  results. 

The  logical  sequence  of  the  events  that  followed  were  seen 
as  the  results  of  the  Stamp  Act.  The  Molasses  Act  was  reviewed 
and  the  revenge  the  colonists  took  in  refusing  to  import  goods 
from  England.  It  became  clear  how  the  navigation  acts  resulted 
in  smuggling  by  the  colonists,  and  how  it  came  about  that  the 
English  gave  their  officials  authority  to  issue  writs  of  assistance. 
An  imaginary  individual  case  followed.  They  were  told  of 
James  Otis,  who  resigned  his  position  as  attorney  under  the 
King  in  order  that  he  might  try  a  case  of  this  sort  for  the 
colonists. 

Collateral  reading  dealt  with  the  results  following  the  Stamp 
Act,  its  nullification,  the  taxing  of  tea,  and  the  Boston  Tea 
Party.  Two  or  three  days  were  spent  in  this  reading  in  order 
that  the  children  might  secure  a  detailed  picture  of  the  times 
and  thus  sense  the  intense  feeling  that  was  rife  in  1775,  espe- 
cially in  Boston.  The  story  of  Paul  Revere  was  read,  and  four 
of  the  children  who  had  been  east  described  different  places 
in  and  around  Boston.  Most  of  the  children  had  read  many 
stories  of  this  time  and  were  delighted  to  find  the  historical 
setting  of  these  stories.  M.  told  of  the  boys  in  Boston  who 
remonstrated  with  the  British  officer  over  the  interference  of 
his  soldiers  with  their  sports.  When  the  group  heard  of  the 
Quartering  Act  and  the  placement  of  British  soldiers  in  Bos- 
ton, M.  was  much  delighted  to  find  that  her  story  had  really 
happened  at  that  time,  that  it  had  a  genuine  setting  in  both 
place  and  time. 

The  children  read  the  accounts  of  the  battles  of  Lexing- 
ton, Concord,  and  Bunker  Hill  out  of  school  hours.  They  were 
far  more  interested  in  planning  the  campaigns  and  surmising 
and  forcasting  the  movements  of  both  the  British  and  Con- 
tinental Armies  than  they  were  in  the  gory  details  of  the  bat- 
tles. Class  discussion  brought  out  why  the  battles  were  fought 
in  these  places  and  the  preparations  made  for  them  by  the 
Americans.  The  account  of  the  capture  of  Ticonderoga  which 
supplied  the  Americans  with  ammunition  and  arms,  the  siege 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  173 

of  Boston,  and  its  evacuation  by  the  British  then  followed. 
The  children  were  much  interested  in  how  Washington  ac- 
complished the  reorganization  and  drill  of  the  army  and 
amused  that  the  northerners  thought  Washington  a  "dude." 
They  were  much  impressed  with  his  character  and  especially 
his  patience  while  waiting  near  Boston  for  munition  sup- 
plies. When  asked  "What  are  the  qualities  of  a  great  general?" 
they  decided  that  one  highly  necessary  characteristic  is  the 
ability  to  imagine  what  the  enemy  will  do  and  prepare  to 
frustrate  that  plan. 

The  class  was  asked  to  forecast  what  the  British  would  do 
after  leaving  Boston.  At  first  they  were  at  sea,  but  finally  agreed 
that  the  best  plan  would  be  to  try  to  divide  the  colonies.  After 
the  reminder  that  there  was  an  army  of  British  soldiers  in 
Canada,  and  with  the  relief  map  of  the  United  States  before 
them,  the  group  decided  that  the  British  would  attempt  an 
approach  to  Lake  Champlain  both  from  the  north  and  from 
the  Hudson  River  Valley.  The  children  then  realized  that  a 
forest  would  be  an  impassable  barrier  for  the  army  and  were 
told  of  Howe's  plan  for  Burgoyne  and  St.  Leger  to  come  from 
the  north,  while  he  advanced  up  the  Hudson  River,  with  a 
meeting  near  Albany.  This  accomplished,  the  colony  would  be 
divided. 

The  aim  of  this  course  was  to  emphasize  the  geography  of 
the  country  rather  than  the  sensational  features  of  warfare. 
To  this  end  much  time  was  spent  on  map  work,  and  the  chil- 
dren were  encouraged  to  plan  the  campaigns  of  the  war  them- 
selves, to  select  important  strategic  points,  and  decide  what 
moves  would  be  made,  on  the  one  hand  to  capture,  and  on  the 
other  to  defend.  The  children  grew  so  interested  that  a  large 
relief  map  was  begun,  and  the  various  campaigns  of  the  war 
were  worked  out  under  the  direction  of  a  leader  chosen  by  the 
group. 

THE  STUDY  OF  TERRITORIAL  EXPANSION 

Two  periods  were  spent  in  the  discussion  of  the  Declaration 
of  Independence  and  the  attitude  which  the  different  colonies 


174  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

took  toward  its  acceptance.  The  terms  of  the  treaty  at  the  close 
of  the  war  were  discussed,  and  the  United  States  territory  in 
1783  was  traced  on  their  map.  The  remaining  time  was  spent 
in  a  brief  study  of  the  territorial  expansion  of  the  United 
States  after  the  war,  and  of  her  gradual  growth  in  unity.  They 
were  told  how  Lousiana,  then  extending  from  the  Mississippi 
to  the  Rocky  Mountains,  came  into  the  possession  of  the  United 
States;  they  reviewed  the  Lewis  and  Clark  expedition  down 
the  Ohio  River,  up  the  Missouri,  and  across  the  mountains  into 
Oregon  and  the  claims  of  the  United  States  to  this  region, 
based  on  this  exploration  and  those  of  its  early  settlers.  They 
did  much  collateral  reading  and  spent  two  periods  a  week  in 
writing  a  story  of  the  Revolution  based  on  one  that  they  had 
heard  read.  At  this  time  they  became  much  more  conscious  of 
the  looks  of  their  papers;  several  even  voluntarily  copied  them 
in  ink. 

The  topic  of  territorial  expansion  finished,  they  took  up  in 
more  detail  the  current  trouble  with  Spain;  the  children  them- 
selves furnished  a  good  many  of  the  pertinent  facts.  The  result- 
ing treaty,  which  involved  the  question  of  quelling  difficulties 
in  the  Philipines,  the  acquisition  of  Porto  Rico  and  one  of  the 
Ladrone  Islands,  and  relevant  discussion  included  a  critical 
survey  of  how  the  Hawaiian  Islands  came  into  the  possession 
of  the  United  States.  A  short  sketch  of  their  discovery  by  Cap- 
tain Cook  was  given,  of  the  subsequent  migration  thither  of 
missionaries  and  speculators,  of  the  gradual,  general  immigra- 
tion of  foreigners,  and  of  the  final  request  of  the  white  popula- 
tion that  Hawaii  be  annexed  to  the  United  States. 

The  story  of  the  purchase  of  Alaska  from  Russia  by  the 
United  States  then  followed;  its  climate  was  reviewed;  and 
the  reasons  why  it  was  valuable  to  the  United  States.  The  gold 
of  the  Klondike  was  first  thought  of,  but  on  thoughtful  con- 
sideration the  children  found  that  its  gold  resources  were  not 
known  at  that  time.  They  then  suggested  sealskin  as  a  valuable 
product  and  were  told  something  of  the  trouble  between  Eng- 
land and  America  over  the  seal  rookeries  and  of  the  boundary 
dispute  between  the  two  countries. 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  175 

THE  STUDY  OF   COLONIAL  INDUSTRY 

The  introduction  of  industries  necessary  to  provide  food, 
clothing,  and  shelter  for  the  early  pioneers  naturally  brought 
many  changes,  changes  which  did  much  to  shape  the  subse- 
quent political  history  and  the  social  life  of  each  community. 
Each  house  at  first  was  its  own  producer,  but  even  here  there 
was  a  division  of  labor.  The  study  of  social  life  was  largely  one 
of  the  gradual  development  of  its  industries,  the  increased  ef- 
ficiency through  invention  of  machines,  and  the  social  reor- 
ganization and  adjustments  that  follow  the  introduction  of 
labor-saving  devices.  The  textile  industries  in  particular  offered 
much  material  and  opportunity  for  individual  investigation 
and  reinvention.  The  processes  carried  on  in  the  home  in- 
dustries of  the  period  suggested  much  study  and  experimenta- 
tion in  the  cultivation  and  preparation  of  wool,  flax,  and  cot- 
ton. The  group,  after  examining  the  different  fibres,  took  flax 
for  special  study.  They  agreed  that  so  fine  a  root  would  need  a 
light  soil  and  searched  the  map  for  river  valleys  which  would 
furnish  the  right  conditions.  The  valley  of  the  Nile,  together 
with  Belgium  and  Ireland,  were  found  to  answer  the  require- 
ments. Methods  of  sowing  the  seed  were  then  discussed,  and 
the  children  decided  that  flax  sown  for  seed  only  should  be 
scattered  more  than  that  to  be  cultivated  for  the  fibre.  Some 
were  sown  in  a  window-box  for  observation,  and  that  which 
had  been  grown  the  year  before  was  used  for  experiment.  This 
was  soaked  to  soften  the  fibres  and  heckled  with  a  heckle  de- 
signed by  a  member  of  the  group.  The  spinning  of  flax  was 
demonstrated  for  the  class  by  a  German  woman,  and  some  of 
the  children  tried  to  learn,  but  the  time  available  was  too 
short  to  allow  very  satisfactory  results.  There  was  some  ex- 
perimenting with  dyes.  Various  combinations  of  madder,  fustic, 
Brazil  wood,  alum,  potassium  bichromate,  and  copper  sul- 
phate were  tried.  (Group  X  later  chose,  from  the  mounted 
samples  of  these  dyes,  a  color  to  be  used  in  a  screen  they  were 
planning.)  Two  of  the  group  made  soap,  using  lard  and  caustic 
potash.  Others  attempted  to  bleach  a  piece  of  linen,  which  had 


176  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

been  woven  by  a  member  of  the  group,  but  without  much 
success. 

There  was  also  weaving  of  Indian  mats  on  the  looms  that 
had  been  constructed  in  the  shop.  Designs  in  color  were  made 
for  these  mats  in  the  art  studio.  The  children  also  worked  in 
clay  and  water  color,  choosing  from  their  history  such  subjects 
as  were  adapted  to  their  purpose.  In  making  a  relief  of  Wash- 
ington taking  command  of  his  army,  they  studied  the  costumes 
of  the  time  and  the  face  of  Washington  himself  in  order  to  re- 
produce them  to  the  best  of  their  ability,  and  took  turns  in 
posing  for  the  group.  The  work  in  water-color  was  designed  to 
emphasize  arrangement,  color  values  and  relations.  A  study  of 
perspective  was  also  begun. 

The  aim  of  the  study  of  the  period  of  American  colonization 
was  not  to  cover  the  ground,  but  to  give  children  of  this  age 
some  knowledge  of  how  social  processes  were  used  to  secure 
social  results,  how  obstacles  were  overcome  and  means  con- 
trived to  attain  these  results.  The  ulterior  problem  was  by  this 
method  to  bring  the  child  to  recognize  his  own  need  to  secure 
practical  and  intellectual  control  of  such  methods  of  work  and 
inquiry  as  would  help  him  attain  desired  results  in  his  own  life 
situation.  Pioneer  life  afforded  many  illustrations  of  patience, 
courage,  ingenuity,  and  continual  judgment  in  adapting  means 
to  ends,  even  in  the  face  of  great  hazard  and  obstacle.  The 
material  is  so  definite,  vivid,  and  human  that  children  of  this 
age  can  readily  imagine  and  reconstruct  situations  and  fore- 
cast results  and  solutions.  The  method  involved  the  presenta- 
tion of  a  large  amount  of  detail,  the  minutiae  of  surroundings, 
tools,  clothing,  household  utensils,  foods,  modes  of  living  day 
by  day.  Social  processes  and  results  thus  became  realities.  When 
younger,  the  child  had  identified  himself  in  dramatic  action 
with  the  persons  of  his  interest.  Now,  there  begins  an  intel- 
lectual identification;  the  child  puts  himself  at  the  standpoint 
of  the  problems  that  have  to  be  met  and  rediscovers,  so  far  as 
may  be,  ways  of  meeting  them. 

The  same  general  standpoint,  the  adaptation  of  means  to 
ends,  also  controlled  the  work  in  science,  now  differentiated 
into  the  geographical  (in  its  relation  to  social  groupings  and  to 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  177 

industry)  and  the  experimental.  The  child  learned  to  appreci- 
ate that  the  natural  environment  affords  resources  and  presents 
problems,  and  was  helped  in  his  understanding  by  field  ex- 
cursions, planned  that  he  might  make  his  own  observations. 
These  observations  of  a  local  situation,  of  what  certain  people 
have  done  in  a  particular  environment,  furnish  the  data  which 
the  child's  constructive  imagination  uses  to  image  more  remote 
environments.  Out  of  it  all,  he  abstracts  his  own  general  state- 
ment of  the  probable  relationships  between  physical  char- 
acteristics, the  soil  and  climate  of  any  locality  and  its  natural 
and  commercial  products,  its  typical  industries  and  social 
groupings.  The  idea  of  the  physiography  of  North  America, 
and  in  particular  that  of  its  eastern  coast,  gradually  became 
related  in  the  child's  thinking  to  the  doings  of  the  various 
groups  of  colonial  settlers.  It  took  on  a  concrete  dress  of  mean- 
ing and  gradually  extended  into  a  large  truth  which  the  child 
found  could  be  used  in  his  thought  about  more  remote  situa- 
tions. This  idea  of  the  relation  of  habitat  to  people,  gained  in 
the  study  and  discussion  of  a  relief  map  of  North  America,  be- 
came more  significant  as  the  children  set  about  constructing 
their  own  map.  They  found  many  deficiencies  in  their  method 
and  skill  in  drawing  maps.  In  order  to  get  an  idea  of  propor- 
tion and  of  drawing  to  scale,  they  took  up  the  relative  sizes 
of  different  bodies  and  met  with  the  problems  of  dividing  a 
whole  into  its  parts  and  the  process  of  factoring.  Individual 
experimentation  went  on  with  the  drawing  and  dividing  of 
rectangles  into  any  number  of  parts,  one  or  two  children  dis- 
covering that  if  they  doubled  the  divisions  in  one  direction, 
they  could  halve  them  in  another  without  changing  the  num- 
ber of  parts.  They  also  learned  to  use  a  compass  and  how  to 
measure  a  circle.  After  measuring  the  home  room  and  making 
a  drawing  of  it,  they  made  a  map  of  the  school  grounds  and 
were  then  ready  to  start  on  their  map,  which  had  now  ex- 
tended to  one  of  the  whole  world. 


178  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

INTEREST   IN   SCIENCE 

In  the  meantime  the  geological  history  of  North  America 
was  being  studied.  The  children  learned  the  difference  between 
old  rocks  that  had  been  subjected  to  heat  and  those  that  had 
been  laid  down  by  water,  and  examined  specimens  of  granite 
and  of  limestone.  They  pointed  out  the  Laurentian  Hills  as 
part  of  the  original  skeleton  of  the  continent.  They  talked 
about  the  effect  of  glaciers  upon  soil,  compared  the  soil  of  New 
England  with  that  of  Virginia,  saw  the  difficulty  of  clearing 
the  former  because  of  the  glacier  action,  and  decided  that  it 
would  take  much  longer  to  settle  this  part  of  the  country  than 
to  open  up  the  West.  In  talking  of  the  easiest  ways  west  across 
the  Appalachian  Mountains,  some  thought  of  the  Potomac, 
others  of  the  Mohawk  Valley  and  were  pleased  to  find  that 
the  railroads  in  New  York  State  were  along  the  Mohawk.4 

In  the  experimental  aspect  of  their  science,  interest  cen- 
tered in  how  processes  yield  results.  Their  work  in  physiology, 
therefore,  began  from  the  functional  side.  After  a  little  study 
of  the  mechanics  of  the  various  types  of  levers  and  a  talk  on 
the  use  of  muscles  in  the  body,  they  began  by  moving  the  arm 
to  discover  the  muscles  by  which  this  is  done.  They  knew,  of 
course,  that  the  upper  arm  must  have  one  bone  and  the  lower 
arm  another,  and  that  both  were  moved  by  muscles.  By  feeling 
and  with  the  help  of  diagrams  they  worked  out  the  places 
where  the  muscles  were  attached,  bringing  out  the  fact  that  it 
would  be  of  no  use,  were  both  ends  of  the  muscle  attached  to 
the  same  bone.  The  function  of  the  nerves  was  then  taken  up, 
and  the  concept  developed  that  the  nerves  are  the  paths  of  the 
""feeling  and  moving  messengers"  which  go  to  and  from  the 
brain  and  make  the  muscles  move.  Ingoing  nerves  from  the 
muscles  make  us  aware  of  what  is  happening. 

A  study  of  the  eye  was  begun  by  seeing  that  the  image  of  a 
candle  passing  through  a  small  roll  of  paper  is  inverted.  The 
children  were  also  shown  the  way  a  ray  of  light  passes  through  a 
convex  lens  and  from  their  own  observations  drew  the  conclu- 


*  From  typewritten  records  of  Group  VII  (ten  years).  Teacher,  Mary  Hill. 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  179 

sion  that  to  have  a  correct  image  on  the  retina  of  the  eye  some- 
thing corresponding  to  a  lens  would  have  to  be  in  front  of  it. 
They  then  set  up  and  carried  through  the  experiment  of  the 
image  of  the  candle  flame  through  a  pinhole  in  a  paper.  They 
tried  putting  a  lens  in  front  of  the  pinhole,  found  the  difference 
it  made,  and  decided  that  the  chief  difference  was  in  the  focus. 

The  physiology  of  digestion  led  to  some  experimental  work 
with  foods  in  the  cooking  laboratory.  This  began  with  the 
determination  of  the  different  amounts  of  water  which  would 
be  needed  with  six  different  cereals  in  different  quantities  of 
whole  and  fractional  cups.  In  the  work  of  the  three  previous 
years,  the  children  had  found  that  in  cooking,  flaked  corn 
would  take  its  own  volume  of  water,  and  that  by  weighing 
each  cereal  against  the  flaked  corn  they  could  determine  the 
amount  of  water  required  for  that  cereal.  This  was  done  for  a 
fraction  of  a  cup  and  then  for  larger  quantities.  They  then 
weighed  twenty  grams  of  wheat  flour,  let  it  stand  for  a  time 
in  water,  and  filtered  off  the  water.  This  water  was  then  heated, 
and  the  children  saw  that  it  became  milky  and  compared  it 
with  heated  water  containing  some  white  of  egg.  They  had 
previously  tested  the  filtered  water  with  iodine  for  starch.  This 
water  was  then  reheated  and  refiltered  three  times  in  order  to 
remove  all  the  albumen  for  weighing.  The  object  of  the  experi- 
ment was  to  find  the  proportion  of  soluble  albumen  in  wheat 
flour.  Comments  on  the  experiment  were  that  the  result  ob- 
tained by  two  in  the  class  was  a  good  deal  below  what  it  should 
have  been,  owing  to  the  number  of  handlings  the  materials 
had  to  undergo,  that  the  class  as  a  whole  had  improved  very 
much  in  the  way  the  apparatus  was  handled,  and  that  this 
should  improve  the  results  of  the  next  experiment.5  This 
quantitative  analysis  was  repeated  with  a  number  of  flours, 
with  milk,  and  with  meats.  The  class  had  difficulty  in  trans- 
lating the  results  of  the  experiments  into  percentages,  so  the 
experiments  were  temporarily  dropped,  and  percentage  was 
taken  up.  The  children  formulated  their  own  multiplication 
tables  and  drilled  on  them,  changed  measures  of  the  English 


Typewritten  records  of  the  school,  1900.  Teacher,  Mary  Hill. 


i8o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

system  into  those  of  the  metric,  and  solved  and  wrote  problems 
involving  these  processes. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  next  term  teacher  and  group  dis- 
cussed the  work  of  the  preceding  term.  The  children  felt  they 
"had  changed  around  a  good  deal."  They  had  "begun  with 
the  body,  after  that  experiments,  and  then  a  good  deal  of 
number  work."  They  were  told  that  this  term  they  were  going 
back  to  physiology,  that  it  was  necessary  to  know  something 
about  foods  before  studying  physiology,  that  it  was  also  neces- 
sary to  learn  how  to  make  experiments,  and  that  it  was  easier 
to  experiment  with  flour  and  milk  and  meat  than  with  animals. 
They  were  also  reminded  that  when  they  did  make  experi- 
ments, the  results  were  of  no  use  to  them  because  they  did  not 
understand  how  to  use  numbers,  and  this  was  the  reason  for 
dropping  the  experimental  work  and  studying  numbers. 

This  explanation  seemed  satisfactory  to  the  group,  and  dis- 
cussion then  began  about  the  differences  between  plants  and 
animals,  one  boy  suggesting  that,  "they  had  different  foods 
and  different  ways  of  taking  them."  Experiments  followed  on 
the  conditions  and  food  necessary  for  growing  plants.  These 
led  to  a  discussion  of  the  differences  between  plants  and  ani- 
mals in  this  respect.  Many  excursions  were  made  to  Jackson 
Park  for  specimens  of  plant  life  and  for  toads'  and  frogs'  eggs 
which  were  placed  in  the  aquarium.  As  the  course  went  on,  the 
group  became  much  interested  in  biological  problems  and 
asked  many  questions  about  different  species.  The  monkey  and 
the  descent  of  man  aroused  the  most  curiosity.  One  period, 
therefore,  was  spent  on  an  account  of  the  Darwinian  theory 
of  the  origin  of  species.  The  discussion  then  turned  to  the 
different  classes  of  animals.  The  vertebrates  and  the  inverte- 
brates were  given  them  as  the  two  great  divisions.  Under  the 
vertebrates  the  group  discussed  the  amphibian,  since  they  had 
been  studying  the  toad,  and  under  invertebrates  the  insects, 
with  which  they  were  all  more  or  less  familiar.  The  class  also 
made  a  study  of  the  earthworm. 

Records  were  written  by  the  children  of  their  excursions,  of 
the  dissection  of  the  frog,  and  of  the  material  read  aloud  to 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  181 

them  on  the  habits  of  toads.  They  learned  a  good  deal  of  the 
technique  of  making  drawings  of  their  work.  These,  toward 
the  end  of  the  course,  were  of  quite  excellent  quality.  In  con- 
nection with  their  experiments  with  plants  and  the  making  of 
a  nutrient  solution  for  their  plants,  they  had  had  need  to  use 
metric  measurement,  and  time  was  taken  to  study  this  system 
and  to  make  cubic  centimeter  measures. 

In  addition  to  the  number  work  which  was  incidental  and 
necessary  to  their  laboratory  work  and  other  activities,  the 
group  spent  a  great  deal  of  time  mastering  techniques  in  the 
various  number  processes.  This  was  done  willingly  and  often 
with  evident  enjoyment.  The  work  began  with  the  four  funda- 
mental processes.  The  children  worked  out  their  own  tables, 
and  made  up  problems  of  their  own.  Some  of  these  were  long 
and  complicated,  involving  several  processes.  "A  woman  had 
40  hens;  each  laid  8  eggs;  she  gave  away  24  eggs;  she  sold  the 
rest  at  2  cents  apiece;  she  has  $80.00  in  the  bank.  How  much 
did  she  have  altogether?"  Every  night  each  child  wrote  out  a 
problem  and  brought  it  to  school  for  the  class  to  solve.  They 
then  asked  to  have  these  printed  and  decided  that  they  would 
write  an  arithmetic.  When  learning  the  multiplication  table 
they  also  tackled  division,  C.  volunteering  the  information  that 
if  the  division  tables  were  the  opposite  of  the  multiplication 
tables,  you  could  prove  the  answer  of  multiplication  by  divid- 
ing it  by  the  multiplier.  All  the  children  tried  it  to  see  if  it 
would  come  out  as  C.  said  and  thereafter  were  never  satisfied 
until  they  had  proved  every  example.  They  wanted  to  go  on 
immediately  to  long  division  so  they  could  prove  the  multi- 
plication problems  where  the  multiplier  contained  more  than 
one  figure.  This  group  experience  demonstrated  clearly  that 
this  year  is  the  peak  point  of  interest  in  a  skill  just  for  sheer 
pleasure  in  manipulation.  Children  of  this  age  thoroughly  en- 
joy playing  with  numbers.  This  interest,  when  added  to  an 
increasing  desire  to  acquire  skill  because  of  its  use  in  some 
other  activity,  makes  this  year  an  important  one  in  which  the 
child  can  easily  and  happily  acquire  many  of  his  skills  and 
techniques. 


i8*  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

SUMMARY 

In  their  earlier  years  these  children  experimented  just  to  see 
what  would  happen.  At  ten  years  they  experimented  to  find 
how  materials  or  agencies  must  be  manipulated  to  give  certain 
results.  Since  the  predominate  interest  is  still  in  practical  re- 
sults, the  study  of  this  period  is  a  study  of  applied  knowledge, 
of  applied  science.  In  cooking,  the  child  learns  the  general 
principles  of  cooking  by  means  of  experimentation.  He  ana- 
lyzes typical  foods  and  observes  the  effect  of  heat  and  other 
agencies  upon  the  component  parts.  He  classifies  the  food  ac- 
cording to  its  constituents  and  deduces  his  own  rule  or  recipe 
for  its  approved  treatment.  At  the  close  of  his  study  he  is  able, 
in  a  guided  group  discussion,  to  make  certain  large  classifica- 
tions of  food,  to  arrange  his  cooking  recipes  according  to  these 
classifications,  and  to  state  the  general  principles  governing  the 
right  treatment  of  these  so  that  they  are  suitable  for  digestion. 
His  study  of  food,  therefore,  through  his  own  guided  experi- 
mental handling  of  it,  becomes  linked,  in  his  thinking,  with 
the  digestive  processes  of  his  own  body  and  thus  brings  him 
back  by  the  route  of  logical  thinking  to  the  subject  of  physiol- 
ogy. In  sewing  also,  methods  of  cutting  and  fitting  dolls'  clothes 
were  gradually  accepted  as  good  means  to  get  desired  results. 
Certain  designs  could  be  adapted  to  certain  fabrics  better  than 
others;  certain  dyes  gave  more  pleasing  colors.  In  art,  the  rela- 
tion of  means  to  end  was  seen  in  the  practical  questions  of 
perspective,  proportion,  spaces,  masses,  balance,  and  effect  of 
color  combinations  or  contrasts.  In  music,  melody  and  rhythm 
were  beginning  to  be  used  as  the  means  to  get  a  desired  result 
in  composition. 

The  French  for  this  group  was  taught  by  conversations  about 
topics  of  everyday  interest,  an  occupation  they  were  carrying 
on,  or  a  picture  they  were  sketching.  Special  attention  was 
given  more  and  more  to  forms  of  speech  and  to  pronunciation. 
Individual  needs  in  voice  training  were  met  in  connection  with 
reading  aloud,  and  the  children  developed  considerable  in- 
terest in  the  correct  use  of  their  voices.  This  was  in  many  cases 


COLONIAL  HISTORY  183 

extended  to  correct  bodily  posture  and  linked  to  special  ap- 
paratus work  with  individuals  in  the  gymnasium. 

This  age  often  is  characterized  by  intense  activity.  With 
proper  laboratory  facilities  and  proper  organization  of  subject- 
matter  into  topics,  a  group  of  ten-year-olds,  that  are  shielded 
from  distraction  and  waste  of  energy,  can  make  much  progress 
in  many  directions.  In  the  school,  it  seemed  to  those  directing 
the  work  that  the  children  of  this  age  grew  by  leaps  and  bounds 
in  their  facility  to  handle  all  kinds  of  social  situations,  as  well 
as  those  demanding  intellectual  ability.  Individual  differences, 
especially  in  interests,  began  to  show  clearly.  The  children  were 
also  more  conscious  of  each  other.  Comparisons  began  to  be 
made.  While  there  were  no  overt  symptoms  of  inferiority  aside 
from  those  in  one  or  two  of  the  exceptionally  slow  pupils,  the 
children,  in  planning  the  division  of  work,  were  discriminating 
in  their  choice  of  individuals  who  had  ability  to  carry  to  com- 
pletion any  part  of  an  undertaking. 

At  the  end  of  this  year  the  children  showed  the  effects  of 
their  practice  in  experimental  method.  They  had  grown  quite 
skilful  in  abstracting  the  meaning  of  one  action  with  regard 
to  the  next.  They  had  exercised  their  imaginations  and 
stretched  them  to  larger  objectives  which  had  such  interest  for 
them  that  they  were  content  to  wait  and  work  for  necessary 
skills,  the  lack  of  which  presented  a  practical  difficulty  to  at- 
tainment. They  began  to  conceive  of  the  end  as  something  to 
be  found  out  and  had  had  some  experience  in  controlling  their 
acts  and  images  so  as  to  help  in  the  inquiry  and  solution. 

In  history  there  had  been  a  change  from  the  biographical 
method  of  approach  to  discussion  of  general  social  problems, 
the  formulation  of  questions  that  arise  and  possible  solu- 
tions. The  children  still  needed  a  mass  of  detail  in  order  to  get 
an  adequate  background  of  living  and  social  situations  before 
they  could  appreciate  the  problems  or  foretell  probable  solu- 
tions. Points  about  which  there  was  a  difference  of  opinion, 
matters  upon  which  experience  and  reflection  could  be  brought 
to  bear,  were  always  coming  up  in  their  history,  as  in  the  dis- 
cussion of  the  common  pot  of  the  Virginia  Colony.  The  fre- 


184  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

quent  use  of  such  discussions,  however,  to  develop  the  matter  of 
doubt  and  difference  into  a  definite  problem  was  necessary  to 
make  the  child  feel  just  what  the  difficulty  was.  Again  and 
again  at  this  point,  it  was  necessary  to  throw  him  upon  his  own 
resources  in  looking  up  material  and  upon  his  own  judgment 
in  bringing  it  to  bear  on  the  problem  or  in  getting  its  solu- 
tion. When  the  question  in  a  child's  mind  was  formulated  by 
himself,  was  his  own  question,  it  became  a  doubt  that  needed 
his  reflective  attention;  it  had  a  halo  of  interest  which  en- 
listed his  undivided  attention.  He  needed  no  prod  or  spur,  no 
memorizing  of  ready-made  answers.  He  actively  sought  and 
chose  relevant  material  with  which  to  answer  it  and  considered 
the  bearings  and  relations  of  this  material  and  the  kind  of 
solution  it  called  for.  The  problem  was  his  own,  hence  the 
training  secured  by  working  out  its  solution  became  his  own. 
This  was  discipline  in  the  school.  It  was  self-discipline;  it  re- 
sulted in  self-control  and  a  habit  of  considering  problems. 


G, 


CHAPTER  X 

EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  OF 
THE  COLONISTS 

GROUP  viii  (AGE  ELEVEN) 


i  ROUP  VIII  was  divided  into  two  sections  on  the  basis  of 
previous  school  experience.  Section  a,  the  larger,  contained  the 
children  who  had  been  in  this  school  but  a  year  and  a  half, 
and  section  b  those  who  had  been  longer  in  the  school.1 

Both  divisions  studied  the  European  backgrounds  of  the 
nations  that  had  established  colonies  in  America.  Understand- 
ing of  these  backgrounds  would  naturally  help  the  children 
appreciate  the  motives  which  sent  the  early  explorers  on  their 
migrations  and  lured  permanent  settlers  to  the  new  lands. 
What  these  nations  of  the  old  civilization  took  to  their  new 
colonies,  what  they  brought  back  for  use  or  trade,  and  how  and 
where  they  established  the  trade  routes:  these  were  some  of  the 
points  to  be  solved  by  the  course. 

SUBJECT-MATTER   MODIFIED  TO    SUIT  EXPERIENCE 

The  differences  in  the  previous  experience  of  the  two  sec- 
tions made  it  necessary  to  use  two  quite  different  courses  of 
study.  Group  VHI-a  2  had  not  had  the  study  of  the  world  dis- 
coverers. Their  work,  therefore,  was  analogous  to  that  of  Group 
V.  They  imagined  themselves  living  in  Europe  in  the  middle 
of  the  thirteenth  century.  With  a  globe  before  them,  they 
noted  the  parts  of  the  world  known  at  that  time  and  then  took 

1  Group  teacher,  Marian  Schibsby,  Latin  and  German;  assisted  by  Mar- 
garet Hoblitt,  history. 

2  In  charge  ot  Margaret  Hoblitt. 

185 


1 86  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

up  the  adventures  of  Marco  Polo  in  Asia  to  see  how  Europe 
became  acquainted  with  the  wealth  of  the  Far  East.  They 
learned  how  Venice  and  Genoa  developed  and  the  effect  of 
the  introduction  into  Europe  of  the  many  products  of  India 
and  China  on  commerce.  When  the  Turkish  pirates  cut  off  the 
Mediterranean  route  to  the  East,  these  pioneer  commercial  na- 
tions were  forced  to  look  for  a  new  way,  which  led  to  all  the 
discoveries  and  explorations  of  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  cen- 
turies. 

The  method  used  was  to  study  the  lives  of  the  great  men  of 
the  period  and  thus  gain  an  idea  of  the  industrial  and  social 
problems  of  the  country  and  its  political  status.  Prince  Henry 
of  Portugal  was  first  taken  for  study.  The  children  then  went 
with  Diaz  around  Africa,  with  Vasco  de  Gama  to  India,  with 
Columbus  on  his  four  trips  to  America,  studied  the  settlements 
of  the  Spaniards  in  the  West  Indies  and  Central  America,  re- 
discovered the  Pacific  Ocean  and  the  western  coast  of  America, 
conquered  Peru  with  Pizarro,  Mexico  with  Cortes,  and  finished 
with  the  discovery  of  Florida  and  the  lower  Mississippi. 

The  language,  both  English  and  foreign,  literature,  and  the 
various  other  arts  and  constructive  activities  closely  correlated 
with  the  history  study.  In  science,  too,  the  interest  and  em- 
phasis was  on  the  discovery  of  the  world  as  a  whole  through  a 
study  of  physical  geography  and  of  the  formation  of  the  earth's 
crust.  The  science  teacher  thus  built  up  the  globe  physically 
at  the  same  time  that  the  history  teacher  was  giving  its  social 
and  political  development. 

The  fall  work  in  science  began  with  a  general  survey  of  the 
earth,  its  shape,  size,  relation  to  and  in  the  solar  system,  and 
the  effects  of  its  different  motions.  Day  and  night,  summer  and 
winter,  the  tides,  and  so  on  were  considered.  This  introduced 
the  subject  of  gravitation,  and  the  class  quickly  got  the  mean- 
ing of  weight.  To  show  how  weight  varies  with  the  mass  of  the 
attracting  body,  the  weight  of  a  man  on  several  planets,  the 
moon,  and  the  sun  was  roughly  estimated  and  compared  with 
that  on  the  earth.  The  effect  of  this  increase  or  decrease  on 
running,  jumping,  or  climbing  was  a  matter  of  much  amusing 
discussion.  The  numerous  questions  asked  and  the  various 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  187 

conjectures  stated  indicated  that  the  children  were  not  lack- 
ing in  one  kind  of  imagination.  Various  phenomena  of  gravita- 
tion were  brought  out  by  supposing  that  the  force  did  not 
exist  and  imagining  the  difference  this  would  make  in  every- 
day life.  The  effect  of  the  Japan  Current  on  the  climate  of  the 
western  part  of  North  America  was  also  studied.  The  aim  was 
to  help  the  child  realize  the  significance  of  a  great  physical 
force.3 

THE   STUDY   OF  THE  ENGLISH  VILLAGE 

Group  Vlll-b  made  a  different  approach  both  in  history 
and  science.  After  a  quarter's  intensive  work  in  English  litera- 
ture, a  study  of  English  village  life  was  undertaken.  This  was 
made  to  provide  a  background  for  the  work  in  literature  and 
also  for  a  better  understanding  of  the  social  life  which  preceded 
and  led  up  to  the  emigration  of  the  first  English  settlers.  As  a 
study  for  children  who  had  done  the  work  in  Group  VII  it 
proved  almost  ideal.  In  the  first  place  it  is  real  history.  It  has 
to  do  with  the  lives  of  the  people— what  they  did,  how  they 
lived,  how  they  acted,  and  what  forces  influenced  their  actions. 
It  is  a  stage  of  social  life  or  culture  which  is  typical  of  all 
developments.  It  was  of  special  interest  to  these  children  be- 
cause it  was  English,  and  because  in  it  could  be  seen  the  begin- 
nings of  most  of  the  present  industries  in  America.  It  is  espe- 
cially adapted  to  study  at  this  age  because  it  is  simple,  and 
because  it  lends  itself  readily  to  constructive  work.  It  gives  a 
chance  to  reason,  to  conceive  of  a  village  in  its  simplest  and 
earliest  stage,  to  see  its  growth  and  organization,  and  to  watch 
its  development  into  a  feudal  organization. 

The  dividing  of  village  lands  into  that  which  was  arable 
and  that  for  pasture  and  the  old  systems  of  measurement  and 
notation  were  taken  up.  The  children  discussed  the  sort  of 

s  The  children  were  eager  to  make  thermometers,  and  as  this  fitted 
in  well  with  the  work,  a  little  time  was  given  to  this  construction.  There 
were  many  accidents,  of  course,  and  many  failures,  but  finally,  nearly  all 
succeeded  in  getting  the  bulbs  filled  with  mercury,  and  some  of  the  children 
started  to  mark  the  scale  on  the  tubes.  This  threatened  to  take  so  much 
time,  however,  that  the  children  were  asked  to  finish  the  work  out  of 
school  hours,  which  several  did. 


i88  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

land  it  was,  the  tools  used,  the  seeds  available  and  their  sub- 
sequent treatment  as  articles  of  food.  Occupations  were  also 
studied,  that  of  the  milkman,  the  shepherd,  the  swineherd,  the 
plowman,  and  the  ironsmith,  and  what  each  contributed  to 
the  village  by  reason  of  the  value  of  product  produced.  The 
qualities  of  personality  which  continued  work  in  one  trade 
might  develop  in  a  group  of  people,  the  effect  of  this  develop- 
ment on  their  conduct  in  social  situations,  and  their  social 
status  as  individuals  in  community  life  were  brought  out  in 
group  discussion.  This  emphasis  on  the  occupational  side  of 
the  study  led  logically  to  the  conclusion  that  the  classes  of 
people  in  the  village,  the  villeurs,  the  cotters,  and  the  different 
kinds  of  workmen,  were  the  products  of  their  various  occupa- 
tions. The  children  grew  able  to  distinguish  or  picture  individ- 
uals of  one  class  from  another.  The  lord  of  the  manor  would 
be  picked  out  by  his  dress.  They  would  then  add  the  details 
of  his  life,  his  duties,  the  kind  of  house  he  lived  in,  and  his 
social  status  in  the  village.  This  would  be  in  distinction  to  the 
next  lower  class,  the  villeurs.  Thus  there  grew  up  a  clear  pic- 
ture of  how  the  hard  and  fast  class  lines  were  drawn  that  even 
now  hold  in  the  social  life  of  England.  Constructive  work  was 
correlative;  primitive  plows  and  hoes,  or  mills  and  water- 
wheels  were  made. 

The  general  survey  of  the  village  industrial  life  extended 
itself  to  a  study  of  the  political  relationships  of  the  social  and 
civic  life  of  the  village  and  to  the  conditions  of  England  in  the 
tenth  century.  A  rather  intensive  study  of  the  feudal  system 
centered  around  the  story  of  William  the  Conqueror  and  his 
conquest  of  England.  Richard  and  Philip  were  followed  across 
Europe  in  their  crusade  to  the  Holy  Land.  Certain  chapters 
of  Ivanhoe  revealed  a  picture  of  social  conditions  and  the  rela- 
tions of  the  Saxons  and  Normans.  The  story  of  Sir  Lancelot 
was  read  and  discussed  and  contributed  something  of  the  real 
spirit  of  the  age  and  the  ideals  of  the  knights.4  A  general  sur- 
vey of  the  geography  of  Europe,  of  the  British  Isles,  and  finally 

*  The  Boy's  Froissart,  Mort  d* Arthur,  and  The  Age  of  Chivalry  by 
Bulfinch  were  used  as  sources  of  information. 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  189 

of  the  world  followed.  Outline  maps  were  drawn.  On  these 
were  traced  the  great  land  and  water  routes  of  trade,  and  the 
different  nationalities  who  had  made  settlements  in  America 
were  located  with  emphasis  on  those  of  the  Dutch  and  the  ex- 
tensive claims  of  France,  England,  and  Spain  in  America.  As 
the  children  seemed  unable  to  express  in  written  form  what 
they  talked  about  with  such  evident  pleasure,  time  was  given 
daily  for  each  child  to  develop  skill  in  formulating  clearly  and 
correctly  and  in  written  form  their  knowledge  of  the  English 
village  community.  There  were  drill  lessons  in  spelling,  writ- 
ing, and  those  language  forms  which  they  were  unable  to  use 
because  they  were  unfamiliar. 

The  life  of  the  English  people  at  the  beginning  of  the 
seventeenth  century  was  briefly  reviewed  to  help  the  children 
discover  for  themselves  the  reasons  for  exploration  and  why 
the  early  colonists  left  the  old  and  sought  the  new.  Again  these 
children  were  carried  far  afield  and  once  more  traveled  the 
world  around.  They  went  to  India  with  the  English  and  estab- 
lished the  East  India  Trading  Company  (contemporaneous 
with  the  settlement  of  Jamestown),  compared  the  products  of 
these  East  Indian  colonies  ("nearly  everything  that  can  be 
raised  in  any  country  grows  in  India")  with  those  of  America, 
and  understood  the  deadly  rivalry  that  grew  up  between  the 
English  and  the  Portuguese  who  in  the  days  of  Vasco  da  Gama 
(1497)  kac*  established  factories  in  this  far-away  land.  They 
thrilled  to  the  destruction  of  the  Armada,  rejoiced  in  the 
resultant  freedom  of  the  seas,  marveled  at  the  high-handed 
division  of  the  world  by  the  Pope,  and  realized  how  this  af- 
fected the  settlements  of  the  Dutch  and  French  in  India.  The 
work  as  a  whole  enabled  the  children  to  place  the  history  of 
their  own  country  in  some  adjustment  to  that  of  other  coun- 
tries. It  also  supplied  the  romantic  and  adventurous  interests 
of  children  of  this  age  with  the  best  cultural  expression  the 
races  have  to  offer. 


igo  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

ELEMENTARY  SCIENCE  IN   HISTORICAL   SETTING 

In  science,  VIII-&  studied  elementary  physics  and  physiology.5 
After  reviewing  the  principles  of  electricity  covered  in  the 
fall,  they  went  on  to  a  study  of  simple  machines.  A  seesaw  was 
made  in  the  shop,  and  each  child  drew  the  plan  for  and  made 
a  pair  of  scales.  They  began  their  study  of  physiology  with  a 
study  of  the  leg  and  arm  movements.  The  general  subject  of 
body-movement  as  involving  a  series  of  joints  was  discussed. 
They  found  the  nature  of  the  hip  that  of  a  ball  and  socket,  the 
knee  joint  that  of  a  hinge;  while  the  ankle  possessed  a  more 
pivotal  motion,  and  the  toes  could  be  moved  in  all  ways.  They 
worked  out  the  mechanism  of  the  forearm,  locating  the  biceps 
muscle  by  feeling,  and  the  tendons  that  attach  this  muscle  to 
the  shoulder  and  below  the  elbow  to  the  forearm.  They  tried 
to  move  a  door  on  its  hinges  by  a  string  attached  in  a  way 
similar  to  the  attachment  of  the  biceps  and  found  it  very  dif- 
ficult to  do.  They  thought  it  queer  the  arm  should  be  attached 
in  a  way  so  difficult  to  move.  In  the  shop  at  this  time  they  were 
making  models  of  each  class  of  lever. 

In  working  out  the  principle  of  the  lever  involved  in  the 
movements  of  the  forearm,  the  children  reviewed  the  metric 
system  of  weights  and  measures.  In  order  to  take  their  think- 
ing from  the  English  system  of  linear  measure  to  that  of  the 
metric,  they  were  asked  to  indicate  in  the  air  their  ideas  of  the 
lengths  of  an  inch,  three  inches,  four  inches,  one  foot,  and  a 
yard.  The  children  who  had  been  in  the  school  some  time 
were  very  correct  in  their  ideas  of  these  distances.  The  others 
were  quite  inaccurate.  Their  remarks  showed  much  interest 
in  the  metric  system  as  a  rational  method  in  comparison  with 
the  arbitrary  measure  of  the  English  system.  The  importance  of 
this  in  being  able  to  emphasize  volume  of  cubic  contents  in 
terms  of  weight  of  the  standard  unit,  water,  seemed  to  impress 
them. 

At  the  end  of  a  week  devoted  entirely  to  work  on  the  metric 
system,  they  had  formulated  all  the  English  measures  and  had 

5  Katherine  Camp,  assisted  by  C.  E.  Marks  and  continued  by  Harry  O.  Gil- 
lett. 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  191 

contrasted  them  with  the  metric  system.  In  doing  this  they 
worked  out  a  statement  of  the  meaning  of  mass  and  the  way 
in  which  measure  of  weight  differs  from  all  other  measures. 
In  this  discussion  it  was  brought  out  that  we  do  not  know 
what  the  so-called  force  of  gravitation  is.  They  were  struck 
with  the  convenience  of  having  the  measure  of  mass  and  of 
cubic  measure  so  constituted  that  one  can  be  readily  converted 
into  the  other.  Much  of  the  time  was  spent  in  actually  making 
the  cubic  measure  in  pasteboard  and  tin,  for  they  seemed  to 
have  no  clear  idea  of  the  comparative  size  of  a  cubic  centimeter 
and  a  cubic  meter. 

As  the  work  went  on,  it  was  found  that  this  group  preferred 
manual  manipulation  to  numerical  calculation.  Two  of  the 
children  were  to  make  a  half-gram  by  taking  a  decimeter  of 
silver  wire,  finding  its  weight,  and  then  calculating  how  many 
centimeters  they  would  need  for  a  half-gram.  For  some  reason, 
probably  to  make  the  multiplication  easier,  they  found  how 
much  it  would  take  for  a  whole  gram.  Then,  instead  of  divid- 
ing that  amount  by  two,  they  measured  the  whole  amount  and 
then  tried  to  weigh  backward  to  the  half-gram  on  the  scales 
by  actually  removing  the  wire  piece  by  piece  without  measur- 
ing. As  this  indicated  a  real  need  to  understand  the  use  of  the 
numerical  symbols  in  this  operation  as  well  as  a  lack  of  skill 
in  their  use,  much  time  was  given  to  number  work  in  con- 
nection with  those  units  of  the  metric  system  which  they  had 
been  making.  As  originally  planned,  they  were  to  use  the  units 
of  both  the  English  and  the  French  systems  in  a  study  of  the 
arm,  as  an  illustration  of  a  machine,  and  in  some  other  mech- 
anism, such  as  a  clock  or  a  steam  engine.  Most  of  the  time, 
however,  was  spent  on  the  different  processes  needed  to  work 
out  the  experiments. 

With  the  weights  and  measures  they  had  made  before  them, 
the  children  next  were  asked  what  could  be  used  as  a  unit  of 
work.  After  about  ten  minutes  discussion  one  child  suggested 
that  the  kilogram  would  be  the  unit  in  the  French  system. 
Later  on,  the  same  child  volunteered  that  if  a  pound  were 
raised  a  foot  in  a  certain  time,  that  could  be  used  in  the  Eng- 
lish measure.  The  other  children  had  already  given  the  horse- 


192  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

power  unit  without  knowing  how  many  pounds  or  what  rate 
it  represented.  In  all  the  examples  they  at  first  ignored  the 
question  of  rate  and  simply  used  the  total  amount  of  work 
done.  Their  first  problem  was  to  show  what  would  represent 
%50o  kilogram  of  work.  This  was  accomplished,  by  choosing 
M.500  °£  a  kilogram  for  a  weight.  They  were  then  asked  to  do 
this  problem  in  another  way,  and  in  most  cases  without  sugges- 
tion, they  divided  the  distance  moved  instead  of  the  weight. 
They  here  had  occasion  to  use  the  fractional  parts  of  the  foot 
and  pound  and  to  reduce  them  to  their  simple  forms.  Time  was 
taken  to  develop  familiarity  and  skill  in  such  manipulation, 
and  the  group  then  passed  on  to  the  use  of  the  pulley,  the 
wheel,  and  the  axle  and  formulated  the  laws  involved. 

After  reviewing  the  main  points  in  the  machines  constructed, 
the  question  of  the  source  of  power  for  each  was  brought  up. 
Muscular  energy  was  referred  to  food,  and  food  to  the  light 
from  the  sun.  Then  the  power  of  the  steam-engine  was  carried 
back  to  the  same  source.  The  heat  obtained  in  burning  coal 
brought  up  two  questions.  What  happens  to  the  coal  in  burn- 
ing, and  what  is  meant  by  heat?  The  first  was  answered  in  part 
by  one  or  two  of  the  class  and  then  postponed  for  further  con- 
sideration. The  second  was  touched  upon  and  then  eagerly 
discussed  after  an  interval  of  four  days.  All  the  class  gave  in- 
stances of  the  effect  of  heat  on  various  substances;  three  de- 
clared that  heat  was  friction,  several  others  that  it  was  heated 
or  hot  air,  but  were  unable  to  state  what  they  meant  by  hot 
iron.  One  boy  said  that  hot  iron  was  full  of  hot  air  or  hot  gas 
or  something,  i.  e.,  heat.  The  subject  of  weight  was  reviewed 
as  a  measure  of  the  amount  of  matter  in  a  definite  amount  of 
iron.  Three  of  the  class  declared  that  hot  iron  did  not  weigh 
any  more  than  cold;  therefore,  heat  was  not  "something,"  i.  e., 
matter,  added  on  or  taken  away.  One  thought  that  as  iron 
expanded  in  heating  it  should  weigh  less  when  hot,  that  is,  be 
more  buoyed  up  by  the  air  replaced.  Then  followed  a  long  dis- 
cussion of  the  ways  matter  of  various  kinds  could  be  measured 
by  taking  a  certain  unit  of  each  substance.  Through  the  dif- 
ference between  the  solid,  liquid,  and  gaseous  forms  of  water, 
iron,  and  air,  the  conception  of  the  molecular  constitution  of 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  193 

matter  was  developed.  "Heat  as  a  motion  of  the  molecules  of 
the  heated  body"  was  a  definition  contributed  by  one  child, 
but  was  not  comprehended.  As  soon  as  they  understood  the 
theory  of  the  different  states  of  matter  in  elements,  the  chil- 
dren asked  questions  about  compounds.  They  then  worked 
out  with  some  illustrative  experiments:  (i)  the  change  of  state 
of  an  element  such  as  mercury,  lead,  or  tin;  (2)  the  combina- 
tion of  two  gases—hydrogen  and  oxygen;  (3)  the  measure  of 
the  unit  of  mass—specific  gravity. 

An  opportunity  was  given  in  the  shop-work  to  use  the  facts 
that  had  been  learned.  The  class  tried  to  construct  a  clock 
from  a  pendulum,  bicycle  sprockets,  chains,  and  other  neces- 
sary equipment.  They  were  able  to  work  out  the  theoretical 
part  by  themselves,  but  some  of  the  mechanics  proved  too 
difficult.  They  then  constructed  a  set  of  balances  which  were 
more  sensitive  than  the  first  rude  ones  they  had  made.  These 
were  for  the  school's  use  in  weighing  small  packages. 

The  work  in  physiology  was  continued  by  a  study  of  the 
circulatory  and  respiratory  systems.  The  class  dissected  the 
lungs  and  heart  of  a  sheep,  and  each  child  made  a  careful  ex- 
amination of  the  circulatory,  respiratory,  and  digestive  sys- 
tems of  a  frog.6  The  gills  of  the  tadpole  were  compared  with 
the  lungs  of  a  frog.  This  led  to  a  brief  study  of  the  meta- 
morphosis of  an  insect,  consisting  of  a  summary  of  the  various 
stages  of  development  and  the  determination  of  what  con- 
stitutes a  complete  as  compared  with  an  incomplete  meta- 
morphosis. 

The  main  trend  of  the  work  of  VIII-&  was  to  build  up  the 
physical  and  social  backgrounds  out  of  which  the  early  col- 
onists of  America  had  come,  to  get  an  idea  of  their  occupations 
and  how  far  they  had  progressed  through  the  use  they  had 
made  of  the  resources  of  their  natural  environment,  of  the 
social  relationships  that  had  resulted,  and  finally,  of  the 
motives  that  had  led  certain  of  them  to  exploration  and  a 
pioneer  life  in  a  new  land. 

At  the  close  of  this  year  these  children  were  ready  to  under- 

s  One  child  was  chosen  to  buy  the  heart  and  lungs  at  a  butcher's,  and 
each  child  provided  his  own  frogs  and  tadpoles. 


194  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

stand  next  year's  detailed  study  of  the  revolt  of  the  American 
colonies  against  the  restraining  hand  of  old  custom  and  ancient 
usage.  They  could  sympathize  with  these  early  colonists  who 
in  freedom  had  molded  their  new  environment  to  their  own 
desires  and  had  tasted  the  wine  of  purposeful  and  creative 
action.  They  could  understand  that  this  wine  could  not  be 
bottled  by  old  laws  and  selfish  traditions. 

INTEREST  IN  TEXTIIXS 

Details  of  living  and  the  industries  of  both  colony  and 
mother-country  filled  in  the  background  and  contributed  to 
the  mental  picture  that  was  gradually  build  up  by  the  children. 
The  different  methods  of  spinning  and  weaving  fibres  and 
their  preparation  were  discussed  in  detail.  The  children  wrote 
brief  but  complete  histories  of  the  development  of  the  textile 
implements  used  in  carding,  spinning,  and  weaving  up  to 
the  colonial  period.  They  learned  that  the  invention  of  ma- 
chines had  brought  many  improved  ways  of  living,  had  changed 
the  organization  pattern  of  many  industries,  and  had  left 
many  industrial  and  social  problems  for  later  generations  to 
solve.  The  invention  of  John  Kay's  fly  shuttle  had  brought 
about  a  scarcity  of  yarn  and  made  spinning  a  more  lucrative 
occupation  than  weaving.  An  impetus  was  thus  given  to  in- 
ventions in  the  spinning  industry,  and  the  social  and  economic 
conditions  of  the  subsequent  transition  period  were  discussed. 
The  children  realized  somewhat  the  position  of  the  spinner 
and  weaver,  the  beginnings  of  organization  in  several  branches 
of  the  industry,  the  misunderstanding  of  the  value  of  machines 
and  the  benefit  of  machine  work  to  the  community,  the  un- 
fortunate position  of  the  inventor,  and  the  riots  which  followed 
any  invention  replacing  hand-work.  They  took  up  the  prob- 
lems men  struggled  over  two  centuries  ago  when  the  supply 
and  demand  for  yarn  were  so  unequal  that  weavers  travelled 
the  country  seeking  yarn.  They  understood  the  mechanics  of  in- 
termittent and  continuous  spinning  and  were  asked  to  invent  a 
machine  in  which  a  number  of  spindles  were  rotated  by  the 
revolution  of  one  wheel,  that  is,  by  power.  This  problem  was 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND 


195 


given,  not  so  much  to  stimulate  the  inventive  power  of  the 
children,  as  to  make  them  realize  the  problems  faced  during 
the  transition  period.  A  little  research  work  was  then  done  on 
present-day  methods  of  spinning  in  different  parts  of  the  world. 
Each  child  investigated  a  country,  and  the  findings  were  tabu- 
lated as  follows: 

SPINNING 


Machine 

Wheels 

Distaff 

United  States  Patterson 
Philadelphia 

Kentucky  Mountains 
Tennessee          " 
Carolina            " 

Arizona 
California 
Alaska 

*  Indians 

Canada,  French  Inhabit- 

Mexico 

ants 

They  also  found  that  in  a  city  like  Chicago  all  methods  of 
spinning  were  still  used  due  to  the  presence  of  newly  arrived 
emigrants  from  older  civilizations.  Some  of  the  group  had 
traveled  and  from  personal  experience  could  describe  primitive 
forms  of  spinning  in  Italy,  Switzerland,  France,  Germany,  and 
California,  as  well  as  the  more  advanced  forms  of  factory  work 
in  New  England.  Foreign  helpers  in  some  of  the  children's 
homes  supplied  much  information.  Others  used  the  encyclo- 
paedia. This  piece  of  work  gave  the  children  some  idea  of  the 
overlapping  of  different  periods  of  civilization.  The  class  also 
constructed  a  Navajo  loom  for  pattern  weaving,  making  the 
loom  frames,  battens,  and  shuttles.7 

The  experiences  of  the  previous  year  in  dyeing,  including 
indigo  dyeing  with  copper  in  the  vat,  were  reviewed  quickly 
and  developed  in  one  or  two  shades  of  blue  and  in  white.  Lamp 
wicking  was  used.  The  colors  were  limited  so  the  children 
might  realize  the  beauty  of  good  spacing  with  two  tones.  Most 
of  the  children  made  looms  at  home.  Some  made  small  looms 
and  wove  with  fine  mercerized  cotton  dyed  with  aniline  colors. 
The  children  gave  most  of  their  attention  to  the  design  of 
their  weaving,  comparing  and  vying  with  each  other.  In  nearly 

7  An  interesting  connection  was  the  cooperative  attempt  to  work  out  the 
beginnings  of  a  labor  museum  by  the  teachers  in  the  school  and  the  resi- 
dents and  foreign  neighbors  of  Hull  House. 


196  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

every  case,  the  design  was  modified  after  it  was  first  made  on 
account  of  the  weaving,  the  criticisms  of  other  children  or  be- 
cause of  a  development  in  their  own  critical  faculty. 

They  next  constructed  a  roller  beam  loom  in  which  the 
method  of  warping  is  intermediate  between  the  Navajo  and 
the  colonial  method.  This  enabled  them  to  trace  the  develop- 
ment of  warping  as  definitely  as  they  had  that  of  carding,  spin- 
ning, and  weaving.  Six  children  in  the  group  purchased 
spinning-wheels  and  spun  Sax  thread  to  use  on  the  roller  beam 
loom.  Those  who  did  not  spin  used  flax  hand-spun  by  an  Irish 
woman.  An  accurate  heddle  was  made  in  the  shop  from  a  care- 
ful drawing,  also  made  by  the  children.  Small  table  mats  or 
doilies  were  woven  on  the  loom— a  type  used  in  colonial  times 
for  weaving  such  articles  as  tape  and  braid,  The  study  of  the 
textile  industry  was  reviewed  and  summarized  by  papers  on 
the  history  of  carding,  spinning,  weaving,  and  warping,  on  the 
original  invention  of  the  spinning  machine,  by  a  map  showing 
the  present  methods  of  spinning  in  different  countries,  by  de- 
signs for  weaving  on  a  Navajo  loom  and  the  tape  loom,  and 
by  the  drawing  of  a  heddle.  These  were  bound  together  by 
each  child  in  a  portfolio,  decorated  by  an  original  and  ap- 
propriate design. 

CORRELATED  ACTIVITIES 

The  experimental  work  in  cooking,  which  was  a  study  of 
meats  for  both  sections  of  the  group,  took  up  the  effects  of 
moist  and  dry  heat  on  meat  fibre.  An  analysis  of  meat  and  a 
comparison  of  different  cuts  in  order  to  discover  the  reason 
for  the  superiority  of  some  over  others  were  also  made.  This, 
with  a  review  of  their  work  on  albuminous  foods,  and  an  analy- 
sis of  eggs  and  milk  completed  the  elementary  course  in  cook- 
ing. 

In  this  year  the  character  of  the  work  in  physical  education 
changed.  More  time  was  spent  in  apparatus  work  than  in  the 
younger  groups.  Emphasis  was  put  upon  the  group's  learning 
to  work  and  play  together.  Two  periods  each  week  the  chil- 
dren played  games  and  gradually  came  to  realize  that  it  was  not 
what  each  individual  did,  but  what  they  did  as  a  whole  that 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  197 

made  for  a  victory.  The  quality  of  this  work  in  the  gymnasium 
was  excellent;  good  team-work  and  considerable  individual 
proficiency  were  developed  in  basket  ball. 

Much  of  the  number  work  was  connected  with  problems  aris- 
ing in  various  studies.  One  of  these  developed  in  connection 
with  the  work  in  physiology.  It  was  desirable  to  know  how 
much  ventilation  was  necessary  in  two  (a  large  and  a  small) 
rooms  of  the  school.  The  children  first  measured  the  rooms 
and  estimated  their  cubical  contents.  As  one  of  the  rooms  was 
irregular,  they  had  to  deduct  the  cubical  contents  of  a  jog 
which  complicated  the  work  somewhat.  They  found,  from  a 
physiology  textbook,  that  the  amount  of  carbon  dioxide  per- 
missible in  a  room  was  two  parts  in  ten  thousand.  In  order 
to  use  this  in  decimal  form  they  were  shown  how  to  reduce 
fractional  parts  to  decimals  of  per  cent  and  worked  enough 
problems  to  gain  facility.  The  proportion  of  carbon  dioxide 
given  out  per  hour  by  an  adult  and  by  a  child  and  the  time 
it  would  take  to  reach  this  limit  for  the  rooms  under  considera- 
tion were  then  found.  Next  they  estimated  how  much  air  must 
be  admitted  to  give  perfect  ventilation  and  found  the  average 
velocity  of  wind  in  Chicago  from  a  weather-map.  These  figures 
were  reduced  to  meters,  and  taking  the  area  of  the  windows 
in  meters,  they  estimated  the  amount  of  air  that  would  pass 
through  the  rooms  in  a  given  time.8 

The  plastering  had  fallen  from  the  ceiling  in  one  of  the 
school-rooms,  and  the  group  wanted  to  find  the  cost  of  replas- 
tering.  With  some  help  they  were  able  to  make  allowance  for 
the  closet.  They  found  out  the  price  of  plaster  and  estimated 
the  entire  cost.  They  also  solved  other  problems  which  came 
from  their  work  in  other  subjects.  As  a  result  of  their  study  of 
the  history  of  Chicago  the  previous  year,  they  found  the 
amount  of  taxes  paid  by  certain  individuals  and  estimated 
their  property  holdings.  The  school  tax  bill  was  worked  out, 
and  taxes  in  general  studied.  Some  time  was  also  spent  in  ex- 
plaining and  balancing  the  budget  of  the  school.  The  children 
then  added  up  the  tuitions  to  see  if  they  corresponded  with  the 

s  University  of  Chicago  Record,  September,  1899.  Teacher,  Georgia 
F.  Bacon. 


198  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

account  in  the  budget.  They  figured  out  how  much  material 
the  children  would  use  in  a  month,  in  a  week,  and  in  a  day. 
A  great  deal  of  work  of  a  formal  character  was  also  carried  on. 
The  children  developed  their  own  multiplication  table  and 
drilled  on  it,  and  on  multiplication  and  division  of  two  or 
more  figures.  They  studied  fractions,  square  root,  ratio,  and 
proportion.  In  the  spring,  for  the  first  time,  a  textbook  in 
arithmetic  was  used,  and  each  child  systematically  undertook  a 
review  of  the  various  number  processes  that  had  been  covered. 

The  language  expression  of  this  group  was  varied.  The 
study  of  Latin  and  English  grammar,  parts  of  speech,  and 
sentence  analysis  was  taught  as  a  unit  by  one  teacher.9  The 
method  of  teaching  in  Latin,  like  that  in  French  and  German, 
was  by  conversation  and  drama.  Words  were  always  associated 
with  the  appropriate  object,  action,  or  quality.  By  writing  from 
dictation  and  answering  questions  on  a  Latin  story,  the  chil- 
dren grew  familiar  with  the  story  in  Latin  before  they  at- 
tempted to  translate  it  into  English.  In  some  cases  they  were 
able  to  tell  the  story  in  Latin  without  having  made  any  con- 
scious effort  to  commit  it  to  memory. 

In  the  study  of  English  literature  made  by  one  of  the  sections 
of  Group  VIII  during  the  fall  months,  group  and  individual 
instruction  in  vocal  expression  was  given  by  a  teacher  es- 
pecially trained  in  this  work.10  The  children  were  asked  what 
they  would  like  to  learn  to  read  well.  One  child  brought  Miles 
Stan  dish.  This  was  read  in  dramatic  form  so  that  they  learned 
to  differentiate  characters  and  to  read  description.  In  the  be- 
ginning they  were  very  faulty  in  breathing.  Some  concentrated 
well,  others  did  not.  Some  lacked  an  average  use  of  English, 
but  all  showed  a  good  spirit  and  worked  hard.  A  few  had  a 
very  limited  vocabulary,  which  the  teacher  tried  to  enlarge. 
Later  the  children  worked  on  poems  selected  for  them  indi- 
vidually. These  children,  more  than  any  other  group,  showed 
interest  only  when  they  were  reciting.  Each  was  anxious  to 
recite  his  own  poem,  but  the  rest  were  not  interested  in  hear- 
ing him  and  did  not  listen.  The  children  were  also  given 

»  Marion  Schibsby. 
10  Minerva  Butlin. 


EUROPEAN  BACKGROUND  199 

practice  in  reading  their  reports  to  the  weekly  assembly,  in- 
struction which  was  welcome  as  each  child  wished  to  deliver  his 
own  report  or  that  of  his  group  with  credit. 

After  hearing  a  series  of  readings  from  Howard  Pyle's  The 
Merry  Adventures  of  Robin  Hood  u  in  their  study  of  literature, 
the  children  discussed  a  figure  and  an  image.  They  also  talked 
about  three  pictures  of  deer,  Landseer's  "The  King  of  the 
Forest"  and  "The  Monarch  of  the  Glen"  and  Bonheur's  "On 
the  Alert,"  and  found,  or  were  guided  to  find,  the  words  for 
the  deer,  the  epithets  to  describe  them,  and  terms  appropriate 
to  the  chase.  They  memorized  Shakespeare's  "Under  the  Green- 
wood Tree."  This  work  was  designed  to  give  the  children 
power  to  read  fluently  and  with  expression.  They  had  an 
excellent  background  for  this  work.  Texts  with  plentiful  notes 
gave  them  opportunity  to  look  up  all  the  references  and  to 
prepare  the  lesson  before  they  came  to  class.  Each  child  first 
read  his  passage  slowly,  then  he  reread  it  to  gain  fluency  and 
natural  expression.  The  class  drew  a  ground  plan  of  a  feudal 
castle  on  the  board,  read  a  description  of  a  castle  from  Viollet 
de  Due's  Habitations  of  Man  in  All  Ages,  and  did  some  written 
work  in  connection  with  the  reading. 

Music  and  the  graphic  arts  all  had  a  place  in  the  weekly 
program,  and  were  knit  into  the  daily  activities,  illustrating 
and  refining  them.  They  were  always  regarded  as  of  peculiar 
value,  for  by  means  of  them  the  child's  appreciation  of  his 
experience  found  its  best  and  highest  expression, 

SUMMARY 

Toward  the  close  of  the  year  the  children  in  this  group  had 
gained  in  power  to  hold  problems  before  their  minds.  They 
could  keep  themselves  from  action  for  longer  and  longer 
periods  in  order  to  consider  that  action  in  the  light  of  possible 
consequences.  Ends  were  more  often  not  just  the  overcoming 
of  practical  difficulties,  but  something  to  be  found  out  in  order 
to  reach  further  ends,  and  in  reaching  them  the  child  himself 
learned  to  control  and  direct  his  own  acts  and  images. 

11  Mrs.  L.  M.  MacClintock. 


CHAPTER    XI 

EXPERIMENTS     IN     SPECIALIZED 
ACTIVITIES 

GROUP  DC  (AGE  TWELVE) 

experience  of  a  twelve-year-old  child  in  this  school  had 
been  a  continuously  developing  one.  His  activities  had  con- 
stantly extended  in  scope  and  significance.  They  had  involved 
much  positive  and  detailed  subject-matter  that  had  enlarged 
and  deepened  the  world  of  his  imaginative  thought.  The  ideal, 
not  always  fully  realized,  was  that  the  subject-matter  in  science, 
geography,  history,  or  any  subject  should  relate  to  the  child's 
activities  and  should  suit  each  phase  of  his  experience.  For 
him,  therefore,  geological,  geographical,  or  other  scientific  facts 
were  part  and  parcel  of  the  historical  story  and,  introduced  in 
a  synthetic  and  living  way,  thus  became  an  integral  part  of 
the  stream  of  his  experience.  The  mere  beginnings  of  large  and 
fundamental  concepts  of  the  first  early  years  were  enlarged 
through  the  later  years,  either  by  themselves  or  in  relation  to 
still  larger  and  more  inclusive  concepts.  Widening  areas  of 
activity  frequently  supplied  occasions  for  introducing  supple- 
mentary lines  of  study  which  still  further  enlarged  horizons 
and  increased  the  dynamic  power  of  individual  effort.  In  the 
process  real  problems  and  difficulties  often  arose  in  the  mid- 
stream of  action,  obstructions  which  the  child  himself  must 
remove  or  circumvent.  He  saw  that  skill  was  essential  to  this, 
and  that  repetition  was  necessary  to  skill  and  the  attainment  of 
a  finished  result.  His  need  for  skill  thus  became  sufficient  to 
engage  him  in  its  acquisition;  he  had  an  impelling  motive 
from  within  for  analysis  and  mastering  rules.  This  was  found 
to  be  possible  only  as  formal  work  was  kept  in  connection  with 

200 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  201 

active  construction  and  expression  which  presented  difficulties 
and  suggested  the  need  of  an  effective  method  to  cope  with 
them. 


THE   GROWTH   OF   SELF-DIRECTIVE  POWER  AND   JUDGMENT 

The  conscious  recognition  of  the  relation  of  means  to  ends 
steadily  increased  with  the  child's  growth.  Indeed  it  came  to 
be  the  specific  unifying  principle  of  the  second  stage  of  growth 
—the  measure  of  the  child's  development  in  thought  and  ac- 
tion. Activities  were  planned  to  center  around  projects  of 
longer  and  longer  duration  and  thus  took  on  the  nature  of 
occupations.  Shop  work  with  wood  and  tools,  cooking,  sewing, 
and  work  in  textiles  reproduced  or  ran  parallel  to  some  in- 
dustry carried  on  in  social  life,  whether  in  the  past  or  present: 
In  such  work  the  child  utilized  the  intellectual  and  the  practi- 
cal phases  of  his  experience;  for,  in  addition  to  skill  and 
technique,  it  involved  constant  observation  of  materials  and 
continual  planning  and  reflection  to  carry  out  effectively  the 
practical  or  executive  side.  Mind,  hand,  and  eye  were  needed. 
There  was,  therefore,  a  continual  interplay  between  ideas  and 
their  embodiment  in  action.  The  great  stress  laid  upon  per- 
sonal experimenting,  planning,  and  reinventing  required  that 
the  child  be  mentally  alert  and  quick  if  he  were  to  do  the  out- 
ward work  properly. 

Aside  from  its  peculiar  educational  value  to  a  child  at  this 
stage  of  mental  growth,  the  evolutionary  study  of  the  different 
textile  occupations,  paralleling  as  it  did  the  social  history  of 
Colonial  times,  had  brought  him  a  deeper  interest  in  and  a 
keener  appreciation  of  the  social  life  of  the  period,  its  problems, 
and  its  contributions  to  the  later  life  of  the  nation.  The  indus- 
trial and  economic  progress  of  a  colony  of  people  was  seen  in 
its  proper  relation  to  intellectual  growth.  The  reciprocal  value 
o£  each  for  the  other  lay  in  the  dependence  of  the  one  upon 
the  other,  and  the  whole  of  experience  was  deepened  and  en- 
riched by  the  fact  that  they  geared  into  and  reenforced  one  an- 
other. 

By  reason  of  the  nature  of  their  school  experience,  therefore, 


202  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  the  years  from  four  to  twelve  these  children  had  built  into 
the  fabric  of  their  consciousness  an  intimate  knowledge  of 
materials  of  all  kinds.  They  had  traced  many  of  these  materials 
to  their  sources  or  to  their  simplest  forms.  They  had  the  easy 
attitude  toward  them  which  follows  in  the  wake  of  familiarity 
and  intimate  knowledge.  Each  child  was  accustomed  to  take 
raw  materials  and  manipulate  them  to  the  form  of  his  idea. 
Lead  in  native  ore,  through  controlled  use  of  heat  and  the 
child's  own  labor,  became  weights  for  his  balance.  He  had 
washed  and  scoured  the  unclean  oily  wool  of  the  sheep  with 
soap  of  his  own  making,  had  carded  it  with  a  hackle  of  his  own 
invention,  spun  it  on  a  spindle  and  wheel  of  his  own  construc- 
tion. He  had  dyed  the  yarn  with  self-mixed  color  and  on  his 
own  loom  had  woven  it  into  the  self-designed  pattern  of  his 
rug.  The  genuineness  and  importance  of  his  work  had  sunk 
deep  into  his  consciousness,  for  he  knew  it  had  paralleled  that 
of  his  own  forbears.  His  way  had  followed  their  way;  their 
problems  from  start  to  finish  had  become  his,  for  he  knew 
something  of  the  situation  and  circumstances  out  of  which 
they  arose,  and  of  the  methods  and  means  used  in  their  solu- 
tion. Many  facts  were  thus  easily  woven,  by  the  child's  own 
effort,  into  the  web  of  his  experience.  A  method  of  thinking 
was  gradually  adopted  which  from  daily  use  became  a  method 
of  action,  and  it  was  the  constant  hope  and  ideal  that  new 
significances  of  action,  new  appreciations  of  beauty,  of  good- 
ness, and  of  worth  in  every  field  of  endeavor  might  develop 
out  of  these  habitual  ways.  For  these  children,  it  can  at  least 
be  said  that  out  of  the  years'  activities  was  born  the  conscious- 
ness that  there  was  need  to  do  what  they  did  more  quickly, 
more  effectively,  and  more  perfectly,  and  with  due  considera- 
tion for  others. 

With  the  close  of  the  tenth  year  the  second  stage  of  growth 
draws  to  a  close.  Just  as  in  the  first  stage,  the  change  is  gradual. 
The  eleventh  year,  while  it  has  been  grouped  with  those  of  the 
second  period,  was  markedly  transitional  in  character,  and  at 
twelve  years,  the  average  child  in  this  school  was  fully  awake 
to  values  of  larger  purposes  and  further  objectives  than  those 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  203 

which  had  heretofore  absorbed  him.  His  observations  of  nature 
had  led  him  to  carefully  guided  but  self-directed  experimenta- 
tion. He  had  thus  gained  some  command  of  the  secrets  of 
nature  and  a  measure  of  control  of  a  few  of  her  forces.  In  the 
process  he  had  exercised,  to  a  greater  or  lesser  degree,  his  power 
to  think  logically,  to  initiate,  and  to  execute.  Out  of  such  an 
accumulated  background  of  experience  was  born  an  under- 
standing of  the  wonderful  transformation  in  methods  of  pro- 
duction and  distribution  that  has  taken  place  in  the  history  of 
the  race.  His  eyes  had  been  opened  to  how  it  had  all  come 
about,  because  man  had  tried  and  kept  on  trying;  it  was  the 
fruit  of  experimental  science,  of  a  scientific  method  of  putting 
knowledge  to  use  in  all  areas  of  living.  While  still  a  child  in  a 
highly  plastic  stage  of  growth,  he  had  imaginatively  compan- 
ioned man  in  the  simplified  physical  and  social  situations  of 
ancient  living  and  had  experimented  and  invented  to  meet 
exigent  circumstance  with  immediate  and  adequate  action. 
He  has  seen  how,  with  the  lamp  of  his  own  mind,  man  had 
operated  in  and  worked  on  his  situation  with  the  result  that 
there  was  a  better  understanding  both  of  the  attendant  difficul- 
ties and  of  the  way  out  In  the  story  of  changing  civilization,  it 
had  been  brought  continually  to  his  attention  that  it  was  al- 
ways science  and  scientific  method  that  had  broken  down 
physical  barriers,  conquered  disease,  and  eliminated  evils  once 
thought  insurmountable.  He  came  to  have  a  sensitivity  to  the 
difference  in  the  quality  of  living  in  the  "then'*  and  the  "now," 
and  of  their  contrasting  values.  Accompanying  this  was  an  in- 
creased appreciation  that  scientific  method  was  more  than  a 
tool  for  the  extension  of  his  arms  and  legs,  that  in  it  lay  the 
possibility  of  using  past  experience  as  the  servant,  not  as  the 
master  of  his  mind.  In  varying  degree  it  was  true  of  these  chil- 
dren at  this  age  that  constant  use  of  the  test-and-see-for-yourself 
method  had  developed  in  them  a  belief,  greater  than  in  most 
children,  in  their  own  ability  to  direct  their  actions.  As  this  be- 
lief deepened  and  became  apparent,  each  child  felt  himself 
freed  more  and  more  from  the  necessity  of  guidance  from 
without  and  tasted  of  the  true  freedom  resulting  from  inner 


204  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

direction  and  control.  At  the  age  of  twelve  such  a  child  was 
often  able  to  crank  his  own  engine  and  keep  going  under  his 
own  power  and  guidance  for  longer  and  longer  periods. 

This  growing  self-directive  power  was  accompanied  by  better 
judgment  in  selecting  and  abstracting  from  the  subject-matter 
of  his  former  experience  that  which  he  thought  would  be  help- 
ful in  the  new.  Abstraction  thus  came  to  be  the  artery  for  his 
thinking,  for  by  it  he  intentionally  rendered  one  experience 
available  for  guidance  in  another.  Soon  his  conscious  use  of 
abstraction  to  clarify  and  direct  new  situations,  brought  him 
to  discover  how  to  generalize,  to  make  his  own  rules,  to 
formulate  a  general  principle,  and  to  draw  his  own  conclusions. 
A  term's  work  always  concluded  with  a  review  and  a  summary. 
The  children  did  this  with  pleasure.  In  a  long  course  of  cook- 
ing, cereals,  meats,  and  many  different  kinds  of  foods  had  been 
analyzed  and  classified  according  to  their  predominating  con- 
stituents as  carbohydrates,  proteins,  and  those  valuable  for 
their  mineral  salts.  While  finishing  up  their  cook  books,  the 
children  were  astonished  and  delighted  to  find  how  few  general 
principles  covered  the  cooking  of  so  many  different  kinds  of 
food.  This  summary  or  review  was  always  done  both  by  indi- 
viduals and  by  all  the  children  working  together.  In  addition 
to  the  stabilizing  effect  of  a  knowledge  of  inner  power  and  con- 
trol, there  was  a  sense  of  security  born  from  years  of  working 
in  and  with  a  group,  a  trust  in  the  efficacy  of  cooperative  ac- 
tion for  the  reconstruction  of  experience.1  This  conscious  use 
of  abstraction  and  of  generalization,  added  to  an  increasing 
sense  of  reliance  on  his  own  ability  to  find  a  way  out  of  any 
situation  by  trying  what  had  helped  before,  brought  a  child, 
in  this  school,  to  a  forking  of  the  ways  at  the  age  of  twelve 
when  the  individual  interest  and  personal  preference  of  one 
child  may  see  a  beckoning  down  this  path  and  another  may 
see  it  along  a  far  different  trail.  From  now  on,  for  each  one 

i  The  present  sense  of  insecurity  is  exaggerated  in  many  persons  by  the 
lack  of  experience  in  the  use  of  a  tested  method  of  reconstructing  individual 
situations  and  social  conditions  through  cooperative  action.  With  no  habits 
of  acting  with  others  many  of  the  younger  generation  professing  high 
social  ideals  fail  to  see  that  they  themselves  are  not  social  in  their  personal 
relationships. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  205 

and  for  the  school  and  teachers,  the  way  of  the  group  became 
more  difficult.  Mere  play  of  activity  satisfied  less  and  less.  It 
must  accomplish  more  and  must  move  on  to  an  increasingly 
definite,  a  more  perfect  and  abiding  outcome.2 

The  historical  subject-matter,  chosen  with  the  growing  child 
in  mind,  had  paralleled,  as  closely  as  possible,  the  phases  of 
his  rapidly  differentiating  experience  with  those  periods  which 
were  characteristic  and  typical  of  similarly  growing  phases 
of  social  life.  By  study  of  the  work  of  the  American  colonies— 
by  following  the  road  of  their  industrial  and  economic  his- 
tory—he had  came  to  a  real  understanding  of  two  of  the  most 
fundamental  aspects  of  social  life.  First,  he  saw  how  present 
social  life  has  been  made  more  prosperous  and  secure.  The 
successive  inventions  and  discoveries  by  which  theoretical 
science  has  been  applied  to  the  control  of  nature  are  thus  seen 
as  the  causes  of  social  progress.  Second,  through  participating 
in  similar  work,  he  himself  had  come  to  grips  with  the  things 
that  fundamentally  concern  all  men,  namely,  the  occupations 
and  values  connected  with  getting  a  living.  His  conception  of 
history  thus  deeply  embedded  in  actual  experience  and  sup- 
plemented  with  timely  second-hand  information,  was  colored 
with  a  human,  a  democratic,  and  hence  a  liberalizing  point 
of  view.  It  may  be  truthfully  said  that  these  children  at  twelve 
years  had  a  conception  of  history  that  was  dynamic—it  was 
moving  and  progressive  social  life. 

In  their  school  life,  the  children  of  this  group  were  active  in 
school  assemblies,  newspaper  work,  and  all  club  activities. 
They  were  so  individual  in  what  they  undertook  that  at  times 
it  seemed  more  difficult  than  ever  before  to  carry  on  new  group 
plans.  Four  years  of  experimentation  led  to  the  development 
of  a  curriculum  for  children  of  this  age  in  which  geography, 
while  connected  with  the  history  of  the  people  studied,  was 

2  The  physical  and  psychological  tests  on  the  children  were  conducted  by 
F.  M.  Smediey,  A.  D.  Wood  and  Dr.  D.  P.  MacMillan.  Mr.  Smedley  and 
Dr.  MacMillan  later  shared  in  the  testing  of  over  six  thousand  public 
school  children.  The  results  of  this  investigation  were  published  in  an 
article  by  Dr.  U.  S.  Christopher.  "The  Relation  of  Unbalanced  Physical 
Development  to  Pubertal  Morbidity  as  Shown  by  Physical  Measurement," 
The  Journal  of  the  American  Medical  Association,  September,  1901. 


206  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

concerned  with  larger  wholes.  It  was  the  study  of  the  growth 
of  the  whole  continent  of  North  America  rather  than  just  that 
of  the  eastern  coast  of  the  United  States— the  scene  of  their 
previous  historical  study. 


STUDY   OF   COLONISTS  AS   PEOPLE 

With  the  experience  gained  from  a  knowledge  of  the  Eu- 
ropean backgrounds  of  the  American  Colonists,  the  children 
resumed  their  study  of  the  developing  life  of  their  own  country 
during  the  Revolution  and  the  later  period  of  westward  ex- 
pansion. In  the  light  of  the  previous  year's  experience  the 
historical  facts,  the  growing  industries,  and  the  resulting  social 
and  political  reorganizations  became  meaningful.  With  their 
new  point  of  view  and  enlarged  appreciation  of  the  colonists 
as  people— English,  French,  Spanish,  Dutch— they  had  a  more 
intelligent  understanding  of  the  French  and  Indian  War,  the 
Revolution,  and  the  problems  that  arose  in  the  subsequent 
period  of  westward  expansion  and  gradual  acquisition  of  ter- 
ritory. This  study  was  carried  through  more  or  less  success- 
fully for  the  majority  of  the  group.3  The  same  classroom 
method  was  used  as  in  the  earlier  study  of  the  colonial  period. 
The  rest  of  the  work  of  the  group,  science,  manual  skills,  com- 
munication, and  the  arts  of  expression,  correlated  itself  to  the 
historical  program  through  appropriate  activities  and  related 
studies. 

ACTIVITIES   IN   SCIENCE 

The  science  for  this  group  grew  out  of  the  material  they 
were  using  in  the  laboratory  and  included  a  detailed  study  of 
sedimentary  rocks.  The  illustrative  experimental  work  in  sci- 
ence was  planned  to  illustrate  some  of  the  more  general  proper- 
ties of  matter  and  to  bring  out  the  fundamental  principle  that 
change  of  form  involves  expenditure  of  energy.  Work  began, 
as  always,  with  discussion;  here  it  was  concerned  with  the  things 
that  are  necessary  to  life.  The  children  suggested  food,  clothing, 


«  Taught  by  Margaret  Hoblitt. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  207 

shelter,  water,  air.  They  decided  that  some  of  these  were  more 
essential  than  others,  but  of  all,  air  was  the  most  essential  to 
life.  In  answer  to  "What  is  air?"  they  responded  with  several 
of  their  own  ideas.  After  a  preliminary  attempt  at  an  explan- 
ation of  the  difference  between  a  combination  and  a  mixture, 
a  series  of  experiments  were  undertaken  to  demonstrate  the 
make-up  of  air.  Oxygen  was  separated  from  the  nitrogen  in 
the  air  by  its  combustion  with  phosphorus,  and  the  action  of 
phosphorus  in  combustion  was  contrasted  with  that  of  oxygen 
and  hydrogen.  These  experiments  involved  some  discussion  of 
the  molecular  constitution  of  matter  and  were  constantly  com- 
pared to  similar  reactions  taking  place  in  nature.  The  abstrac- 
tions involved  in  the  experiments  illustrating  the  chemical 
action  of  gases  upon  solids  seemed  too  remote  for  most  of  the 
class,  although  a  typical  example  of  a  gas  becoming  part  of  a 
solid  was  demonstrated  by  putting  away  weighed  portions  of 
iron  filings  to  rust  for  a  number  of  days.  The  children  had  been 
told  many  times  that  rust  is  an  oxide  formed  by  the  contact 
of  iron  with  the  oxygen  of  the  air,  but  all  but  one  or  two  failed 
to  appreciate  what  this  meant.  They  thought  that  a  union  of 
a  gas  with  a  solid  would  make  the  solid  lighter,  that  either  the 
filings  would  not  gain  in  weight  at  all  or  would  lose.  After  a 
few  days  the  filings  were  again  weighed  and  the  percentage  of 
gain  found  in  each  case.  This  type  of  experiment  was  then 
dropped,  and  a  series  with  liquids  and  gases  was  begun. 

As  an  introduction,  an  hour  was  spent  in  summing  up  all 
the  elements  of  the  earth  with  which  they  were  familiar  and 
in  grouping  them  according  to  their  state— solid,  liquid  or 
gaseous.  The  state  was  seen  to  be  dependent  upon  the  amount 
of  heat  and  pressure.  This  was  made  much  easier  by  the  group's 
keen  interest  in  liquid  air;  two  of  the  class  had  heard  Triplets 
lecture  on  the  subject.  The  aggregation  theory  of  the  forma- 
tion of  the  earth  was  explained  to  them.  They  themselves 
contributed  the  idea  of  the  original  gaseous  form  of  the  earth, 
but  did  not  go  on  and  suggest  the  cooling  of  the  earth  to  a 
temperature  where  life  was  possible,  so  a  new  start  was  made 
from  another  approach.  They  were  asked  what  temperature 
they  could  endure  and  live.  Discussion  of  this  point  in  relation 


208  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

to  plants  and  animals  brought  them  to  the  conclusion  that 
there  are  certain  limits  of  temperature  which  limit  the  pres- 
ence of  life.  Two  sets  of  experiments  illustrated  the  change 
from  a  liquid  to  a  solid  or  to  a  gaseous  state.  An  experiment 
with  mercury  showed  the  change  from  liquid  to  a  gaseous  and 
back  again  to  the  liquid  state.  The  melting  and  cooling  of 
type  metal  illustrated  the  change  of  state  during  solidification 
and  the  processes  of  crystallization,  expansion,  and  contraction. 
The  necessary  proportion  of  the  metals  used  in  this  experiment 
were  looked  up  by  each  child  and  were  reported  to  and  checked 
by  the  group.  Finally,  each  child  was  asked  to  cany  through, 
without  asking  any  questions,  the  whole  series  of  experiments 
and  to  report  on  the  amount  done  at  the  end  of  three  periods. 

During  the  previous  year  these  children  as  Group  VIII,  had 
made  a  study  of  the  electric  bell  and  motor.  An  account  of 
Faraday's  experiment  with  an  iron  core  and  a  coil  was  the 
starting  point  for  their  construction  of  a  dynamo-motor.  As  a 
preparation  for  a  visit  to  Armour  Institute  they  had  reviewed 
the  things  they  would  want  to  see.  These  were,  in  their  pre- 
ferred order:  a  motor,  a  dynamo,  a  galvanometer  (which  they 
called  a  tester),  a  storage  battery,  and  an  apparatus  for  telegra- 
phy. 

In  Group  IX,  these  same  children  had  another  opportunity 
to  visit  Armour  Institute  and  revive  their  interest  in  electrical 
machines.  They  saw  three  kinds  of  galvanometers  and,  while 
looking  for  them,  asked  for  the  first  time  for  the  name  of  the 
unit  of  electric  measurement.  They  already  knew  that  the 
method  of  measurement  was  the  work  done.  A  powerful  elec- 
tric magnet  gave  them  their  first  conception  of  magnetism  as 
a  real  force.  They  could  feel  the  force  on  a  steel  screw-driver  as 
it  required  all  their  strength  to  prevent  its  moving  between 
the  two  poles  of  the  magnet.  One  of  the  children  asked  in  great 
excitement,  "What  is  happening  between  those  two  pieces  of 
metal?"  They  also  saw  alternating  and  direct  dynamos  and 
electric  motors  with  two  kinds  of  armatures  and  understood 
that  dynamos  can  be  used  to  generate  current  and  also  as  a 
motor.  One  of  the  children  went  home  and  made  his  motor 
into  a  dynamo  with  a  small  steam-engine  as  the  source  of 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  209 

power.  The  girls  showed  little  interest  as  compared  to  the 
boys,  but  all  came  home  with  the  determination  to  make  a 
galvanometer  in  the  shop  and,  if  they  could  find  the  parts,  a 
motor  and  a  dynamo.  At  Armour  they  were  taken  to  a  shop 
where  a  motor  was  used  to  run  a  planer  and  a  jig-saw.  This 
aroused  great  interest  and  the  repeated  comment,  "How  much 
we  could  do  if  we  only  had  one!"  They  also  saw  a  portable 
testing  ammeter  and  voltmeter  and  asked  what  each  measured 
and  were  told  how  the  two  instruments  could  be  made  to 
read  in  different  parts  of  the  scale  by  the  amount  of  wire 
wound  from  one  cylinder  onto  another,  thus  making,  as  it 
were,  the  resistance  visible. 

The  opinion  of  the  director  of  the  course  *  was  that  a  visit 
of  this  sort  should  be  made  at  the  beginning  of  the  course  and 
again  at  its  close.  They  then  could  have  carried  the  conception 
of  the  force  they  had  seen  acting  on  a  large  scale  over  into 
their  own  experiments  of  force  on  a  small  scale.  The  concep- 
tion would  have  been  clearer  than  the  reverse  order  of  occur- 
rences. The  second  visit  could  then  have  been  made  to  review 
and  to  give  them  some  conception  of  methods  of  measure- 
ment and  the  value  of  the  units  used. 

After  this  interlude  on  electrical  machines,  the  group  re- 
turned to  their  study  of  the  change  of  matter  and  started  a 
series  of  experiments  to  illustrate  these  changes  as  they  occur 
in  the  making  of  various  alloys,  such  as  type-metal,  solder, 
pewter,  and  fusible  metals.  Each  child  worked  alone,  wrote  his 
own  record,  a  process  which  often  involved  study  in  composi- 
tion to  achieve  clarity  of  statement.  At  the  close  of  the  work 
each  child  with  guidance  summed  up  and  formulated  the 
general  principles  he  had  learned. 

The  spring  term  work  began  with  a  review  of  what  the  class 
knew  about  the  formation  of  the  earth.  The  children  were 
intrigued  with  Mr.  See's  theory  of  the  cold  nebular  mass  as 
opposed  to  the  ordinary  La  Place  nebular  theory.  Their  inter- 
est in  change  of  state,  from  gas  to  liquid  or  solid  by  heating 
and  cooling  at  critical  points,  was  keen  and  carried  over  well 


*  Katharine  Camp. 


210  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

to  the  story  of  such  changes  occurring  in  the  earth's  formation. 
When  the  children  had  grasped  the  idea  of  the  earth  as  a  ball 
covered  with  a  rocky  crust  and  surrounded  with  an  atmo- 
sphere, they  went  on  to  changes  which  have  taken  place  on  the 
earth  and  can  now  be  seen.  After  some  questioning  and  dis- 
cussion they  stated  that  there  were  three  kinds  of  rocks:  (i) 
lava,  granite  schists;  (2)  rocks  like  marble,  which  have  been 
changed;  (3)  water-formed  rocks.  In  discussing  metamorphic 
rocks,  they  said  the  gas  around  the  earth  would  change  rocks 
directly  forming  crystals  without  the  action  of  water.  They 
used  the  word  oxides  and  described  the  iron  sulphides  al- 
though they  did  not  know  their  name,  placing  these  in  the 
second  class  of  rocks  which  had  been  changed  by  heat  and  pres- 
sure. The  teacher  gave  terms  igneous,  metamorphic,  and  sedi- 
mentary during  the  discussion.  The  children  recalled  from 
previous  work  that  slate  was  formed  like  clay  and  had  been 
changed  by  pressure,  that  granite  was  the  oldest  unchanged 
rock  they  knew,  and  that  sandstone  and  limestone  had  been 
laid  down  or  made  in  the  water,  and  gave  other  evidences  of 
remembering  this  work  well.  Part  of  the  class  then  made  ex- 
periments illustrating  the  formation  of  sedimentary  rocks  and 
the  action  of  carbon  and  sulphur  dioxide  upon  these  rocks. 
Some  time  was  spent  formulating  the  proper  order  of  impor- 
tant points  in  the  records  of  the  work.  The  children  wrote 
their  summaries  more  successfully  this  year  than  they  had 
those  of  the  same  work  the  previous  year.  Examples  follow: 

THE  STORY  OF  How  LIMESTONE  WAS  MADE 

A  long  time  ago  when  the  earth  was  new,  when  it  was  lava,  there 
was  no  water  on  the  earth,  and  there  was  steam  all  round  the  earth 
up  in  the  air,  as  there  were  many  gases  in  the  air.  One  of  them  was 
carbon  dioxide.  The  steam  became  clouds,  because  the  earth  began 
to  cool  off,  and  after  a  while  it  began  to  rain,  and  the  water  came 
down  and  dissolved  the  carbon  dioxide  from  the  air.  When  the  earth 
was  cooling  off,  calcium  was  in  the  rock  lava.  The  water  ran  down 
in  the  rocks,  and  the  carbon  dioxide  takes  the  calcium  out  of  the 
rocks  and  makes  calcium  carbonate.  Calcium  carbonate  dissolved 
in  the  water.  The  little  animals  eat  the  calcium  carbonate  and  make 
their  shells— corals,  snails,  oysters,  etc.  These  shells  are  pressed  down 
by  other  shells,  and  at  last  they  are  all  made  into  limestone. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  211 

Calcium  carbonate  comes  from  all  little  animals  that  have  shells. 

Coral,  having  such  a  great  many  little  animals,  so  that  when  they 

die  there  is  a  great  deal  of  calcium  carbonate  left  by  the  skeletons. 

The  other  way  of  making  calcium  carbonate  is  in  caves.  The  water 

leaks  through  and  leaves  calcium  carbonate  in  the  form  of  crystals. 

Marble  is  calcium  carbonate  under  great  pressure  and  some  heat* 

The  next  experiment  is  to  find  out  if  there  is  calcium  in  lava.5 

I  took  some  lava  and  put  on  some  hydrochloric  acid  (strong). 

There  was  no  action  that  could  be  seen  except  when  I  heated  it,  and 

then  a  vapor  came  ofLG 

When  I  evaporated  it,  it  left  a  little  bit  of  dark  stuff  in  the  bottom 
so  that  shows  that  there  was  some  action  and  the  acid  did  take  some- 
thing out  of  the  lava.  Then  I  let  it  stand  for  a  few  days.  After  I  let 
it  stand  I  rubbed  a  small  piece  of  filter  paper  on  the  bottom  of  the 
test-tube.  The  dark  stuff  had  absorbed  some  moisture.  Then  I  heated 
it  until  it  turned  to  a  dark  red  color— which  I  don't  know  anything 
about— but  the  dark  stuff  absorbing  moisture  shows  some  of  the  dark 
stuff  on  the  bottom  of  the  test  tube  was  like  calcium  chloride.7 

The  science  work  for  the  rest  of  the  year  consisted  in  follow- 
ing out  the  geological  history  of  the  United  States  which  was 
now  clearer  since  this  experimental  work  had  illustrated  some 
important  natural  facts  and  processes.  The  children  were  given 
their  choice  of  illustrating  Shaler's  Story  of  Our  Continent 
with  maps  and  diagrams  or  of  working  out  and  illustrating  one 
topic  of  special  interest  to  each  pupil.  These,  one  of  the  chil- 
dren immediately  suggested,  could  all  be  put  together  and 
made  into  a  book.  Two  of  the  topics  chosen  were  the  history  of 
the  Mississippi  Valley  and  of  the  lake  region  as  showing  the 
location  of  the  great  limestone,  clay,  and  metal  deposits  in  the 
United  States. 

After  a  period  of  arithmetic  tests,  plans  for  detailed  indi- 
vidual maps  showing  the  location  of  a  mineral  or  other  natural 
product  were  begun.  The  fact  that  these  maps  combined  would 
give  a  complete  map  of  the  country  aroused  much  interest. 


s  Lava  meant  igneous  rock  before  it  had  weathered.  The  lava  used 
came  from  the  Hawaiian  volcanoes. 

s  One  or  two  of  the  class  heated  hydrochloric  acid  without  any  lava,  and 
found  that  the  same  vapor  came  off  as  when  the  lava  was  in  it. 

7  The  children  had  made  calcium  chloride  and  seen  it  dissolve  in  water 
absorbed  from  the  air.  University  Record,  Vol.  Ill,  No.  49,  Teacher,  Kath- 
erine  Camp. 


212  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  children  decided  that  all  would  have  to  use  the  same 
scale  and  system  of  marks.  What  these  should  be  was  decided 
by  a  vote  on  each  suggestion.  They  voted  to  show  the  outline 
of  the  country  by  a  black  line,  to  outline  the  states  by  a  dotted 
line,  to  show  large  cities  by  circles  with  radiating  points,  sea- 
ports or  towns  important  because  of  their  nearness  to  mines  or 
quarries  by  small  squares,  canals  by  a  double  line  with  cross 
marks,  railroads  by  a  single  line  with  cross  marks,  lakes  by 
blue  washing,  rivers  by  a  double  line,  mountains  by  the  usual 
conventional  curved  lines,  and  to  mark  the  area  of  occurrence 
and  production  of  the  natural  products  by  distinctive  colors. 
Methods  of  scaling  and  how  to  make  a  flat  map  of  a  curved 
surface  were  reviewed,  and  each  child  traced  his  outline  map 
from  one  in  an  atlas.  The  finished  maps  were  transferred  to 
cloth  paper.  A  large  map  of  the  United  States  was  also  made 
in  the  school  yard. 

In  the  meantime  the  children  read  at  home  Shaler's  Story  of 
our  Continent.  They  were  especially  interested  in  its  author's 
summary  of  the  relation  between  living  things  and  physical 
environment.  Each  child  then  wrote  a  report  of  his  work 
after  some  class  instruction  in  how  to  make  each  paragraph 
carry  the  story  along  a  few  additional  steps.  At  first  many  of 
the  class  tried  to  write  their  reports  by  copying  from  references. 
One  report  written  in  this  way  was  read  aloud  and  discussed 
from  the  point  of  view  of  the  audience,  Group  VI,  for  whom  it 
was  intended.  This  discussion  gave  the  class  a  new  understand- 
ing of  what  the  reports  might  be,  and  they  set  about  the  work 
of  rewriting,  with  renewed  interest.  Two  reports  were  rewrit- 
ten three  times.  During  the  writing,  reports  were  frequently 
read  aloud  and  criticized  as  to  subject-matter  and  treatment. 
At  the  closing  session  of  the  course  the  general  physiographical 
characteristics  of  North  America  were  reviewed,  and  new  de- 
tails were  given  about  parts  of  the  country  where  members  of 
the  class  were  to  spend  the  summer. 

The  science  work  of  the  group,  as  that  of  all  the  school  in 
the  spring,  turned  to  the  outdoors  for  illustrative  materials  and 
excursions  and  as  a  setting  for  experimental  work  with  living 
things.  A  series  of  experiments  on  plant  life  was  used.  One 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES 

hour  a  week  was  devoted  to  this  laboratory  work.  The  length 
of  time  between  meetings  was  too  long.  A  constant  review  was 
necessary,  and  the  experiments  failed  for  lack  of  attention. 

During  the  year's  course  in  what  was  fundamentally  geologi- 
cal science,  there  were  at  least  two  astronomical  holidays.  The 
class  spent  the  one  occurring  at  the  time  of  the  spring  solstice 
in  watching  the  tellurian.  They  got  a  vivid  idea  of  what  the 
equinox  meant  and  of  the  relation  of  the  sun  and  earth  during 
the  longest  and  shortest  days  of  the  year.  The  children  were 
reminded  that  in  the  northern  winter  the  earth  travels  that 
portion  of  its  elliptical  path  which  is  nearest  to  the  sun,  and 
that  for  this  reason  the  winter  of  the  northern  hemisphere  is 
slightly  warmer  and  about  six  days  shorter  than  that  in  the 
southern  hemisphere,  while  the  northern  summer  is  slightly 
cooler  and  about  six  days  longer  than  the  southern  summer. 
It  was  explained  that  this  is  due  to  the  fact  that  when  the  earth's 
distance  to  the  sun  is  shortest  (the  northern  winter  or  the 
southern  summer),  the  earth  must  move  more  swiftly  along  its 
elliptical  orbit  in  order  that  the  space  swept  over  may  be  the 
same  as  that  covered  in  any  other  interval  of  time.  To  illustrate 
this  the  children  drew  ellipses  with  exaggerated  eccentricities 
by  inserting  the  point  of  a  pencil  in  a  loop  of  string  of  which 
the  ends,  fastened  by  pins,  were  the  foci  of  the  ellipse.  They 
were  reminded  of  the  fact  (long  familiar)  that  the  water  vapor 
in  the  atmosphere  retards  the  earth's  loss  of  heat  derived  from 
the  sun.  This  is  illustrated  by  frost  on  clear  nights  and  a  great 
difference  in  temperature  between  day  and  night  in  high  alti- 
tudes. The  intense  cold  of  high  altitudes  was  explained  as  due 
to  the  fact  that  the  rarefied  atmosphere  of  the  mountaintops 
holds  in  its  thin  blanket  less  water  vapor  and  thus  allows  the 
earth's  heat  to  escape  more  quickly.8 

The  year's  program  was  carried  through  successfully  with 
the  majority  of  the  children  in  Group  IX.  There  were  in  this 
group,  however,  and  in  several  of  the  older  groups  a  number  of 
boys  who  were  irked  by  the  historical  approach  and  who 
seemed  to  require  a  shift  in  method.  Their  interests  were  not 

«  The  second  event  was  an  eclipse,  which  was  explained  to  the  class  and 
discussed  both  before  and  after  its  occurrence. 


214  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  line  with  those  of  the  rest  of  the  children;  their  attention 
was  divided  or  entirely  lacking;  and  their  efforts,  in  accord 
with  their  interest,  either  retarded  or  interfered  with  those  of 
the  others.  These  boys  were  finally  taken  out  of  the  class  and 
allowed  to  follow  their  own  diverse  and  individual  lines  until 
the  general  trend  of  their  interests  could  be  determined.  This 
interest  proved  to  be  along  scientific  lines  closely  related  to 
things  the  boys  were  making  in  the  shop  such  as  pile-drivers, 
stands  for  their  microscopes,  heat  engines,  or  the  simple  astro- 
nomical or  surveying  and  navigating  instruments  of  the  early 
discoverers  and  inventors.  As  some  of  the  boys  had  had  the 
science  of  Group  VHI-a  in  the  previous  year  and  the  others  the 
science  of  Group  VIII-&.,  it  was  necessary  to  begin  their  work 
together  with  a  simple,  general  topic  and  gradually  lead  back 
to  their  individual  choices. 

CORRELATING  SCIENCE  AND  MATHEMATICS 

This  topic  was  the  measurement  of  time,  day  and  night, 
and  the  passage  of  the  seasons.  Starting  with  an  ordinary  clock 
as  the  present  instrument  for  the  measurement  of  time,  the 
relation  of  the  earth  to  the  sun  in  its  daily  and  yearly  revolu- 
tions was  studied.  The  place  of  the  earth  in  the  solar  system 
and  the  relative  distances  of  the  planets  were  used  as  the  basis 
for  number  work.  The  earth's  change  in  position  with  refer- 
ence to  the  sun's  rays  as  the  causal  factor  in  the  varying  length 
of  day  and  night  and  the  changes  of  the  seasons  were  worked 
out  in  two  ways:  first  by  geometry,  second  by  observation.  For 
the  second,  the  boys  made  a  series  of  daily  observations  of  the 
time  of  sunrise  and  sunset,  checking  by  the  times  given  in  an 
almanac.  The  first  involved  a  good  deal  of  geometrical  con- 
struction. The  idea  of  the  plane  of  the  ecliptic  and  the  constant 
angle  which  the  earth's  axis  maintains  with  reference  to  that 
plane  was  developed.  It  took  some  time  for  the  boys  to  realize 
that  the  plane  of  the  observer's  horizon  is  perpendicular  to  a 
line  drawn  to  the  center  of  the  earth  from  the  observer's  stand- 
point. The  boundary  line  of  that  plane  was  then  taken  as  the 
starting  plane  for  their  measurement  of  the  sun's  altitude. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  215 

When  they  had  accomplished  this  and  its  diagrammatic  repre- 
sentation with  much  suggestion  and  direction,  they  were  able 
to  construct  two  instruments  of  different  types  for  the  measure- 
ment of  the  sun's  altitude.  One,  like  the  old  astrolade,  was  a 
circle  with  an  index  hand  at  the  center.  The  other,  and  usual 
method,  was  by  the  measurement  of  the  shadow  of  a  per- 
pendicular stick  at  noon.  The  making  and  the  interpretation  of 
the  readings  of  these  instruments  involved  much  geometrical 
construction  and  the  development  of  new  measurement  con- 
cepts. For  two  months  the  time  was  equally  divided  between 
practical  construction  and  the  making  of  geometrical  diagrams 
with  the  mathematics  in  their  drawings.  In  measuring  the  sun's 
altitude  it  was  necessary  to  construct  a  perpendicular  to  a 
line  representing  the  observer's  plane.  Discussion  brought  out 
that  two  lines  are  necessary  to  locate  any  plane.  However,  when 
representing  this  on  paper,  the  boys  discovered  that  one  line 
would  serve  if  the  construction  were  kept  in  the  plane  of  the 
paper.  They  worked  out  independently  at  least  four  ways  of 
constructing  a  perpendicular.  Incidental  to  this  construction, 
two  or  three  discovered  and  used  the  construction  of  an  angle 
of  sixty  degrees,  the  bisection  of  an  angle,  the  construction  of 
an  angle  equal  to  a  given  angle.  They  also  developed  the  idea 
that  angles  formed  by  any  line  cutting  two  parallel  lines,  i.  e., 
similarly  placed  angles,  are  equal.  No  demonstration  was  at- 
tempted. All  these  constructions  were  used  in  a  final  diagram 
which  represented  the  observer's  plane,  the  plane  of  the  equa- 
tor, and  a  line  representing  the  direction  of  the  sun's  rays  at 
the  equinox.  The  final  step  in  this  construction  was  to  get  the 
angle  of  a  plane  cutting  a  cylinder  so  that  the  shadow  of  the 
axis  of  the  cylinder  might  describe  equal  spaces  over  this  plane 
during  the  twenty-four  hours  of  the  sun's  revolution.  This 
cylinder  would  then  be  cut  by  a  plane  whose  angle  would 
represent  any  latitude,  and  this  section  would  give  the  surface 
of  a  sun-dial  for  that  latitude.  In  order  to  understand  the 
problem  and  construct  the  cylinder,  however,  many  geometri- 
cal constructions  were  necessary.  In  the  process  the  boys  worked 
out  the  following  original  propositions:  the  bisection  of  a  line, 
three  methods  of  erecting  a  perpendicular,  the  construction 


216  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  parallel  lines  and  angles,  the  bisection  of  an  angle,  the 
method  of  finding  the  center  of  a  circle,  the  construction  of  the 
hexagon,  and  the  use  of  terms  in  defining  line,  point,  circle, 
angle^  zenith,,  latitude  and  declination.  The  interest  and  vigor 
with  which  the  boys  worked  out  these  problems  was  such  that 
for  two  weeks  it  seemed  best  to  drop  all  other  experimental 
work.9 

Each  boy  then  constructed  a  cylinder  on  which  he  traced 
twenty-four  lines  to  represent  the  twenty-four  hours  of  the 
earth's  revolution  with  axis  parallel  to  the  earth's  axis.  A 
sun-dial  for  use  in  the  latitude  of  Chicago  was  begun.  This 
problem  required  that  the  cylinder  be  inclined  to  make  an 
angle  equal  to  the  altitude  of  the  polar  star  and  then  be  cut  by  a 
plane  parallel  to  the  horizontal  plane.  The  intersections  of 
the  hour  lines  of  the  cylinder  with  the  parallel  plane  would 
be  the  hour  points  of  the  sun-dial  on  March  sist  or  September 
2ist.  On  the  sist  of  March  the  boys  all  took  observations  of  the 
sun's  altitude.  They  used  these  to  find  the  latitude  of  Chicago 
and  then  attempted  the  last  step  of  the  problem,  namely,  the 
construction  of  a  plane  cutting  the  cylinders  at  this  angle.  This 
required  more  knowledge  of  geometrical  construction  than 
they  possessed;  time  was  taken  to  work  it  out;  and  the  sun- 
dial was  finally  completed  at  the  end  of  the  spring  quarter. 
Owing  to  the  crowding  in  the  school  building,  the  boys  were 
handicapped  by  the  necessity  of  putting  away  their  material 
each  night  and  by  frequent  losses.  They  met  this  problem  by 
asking  if  they  might  equip  their  group  room  in  such  a  way  that 
each  boy  might  have  his  own  desk  and  thus  be  responsible  for 
his  own  material.  Each  week  one  boy  assumed  responsibility 
for  the  apparatus  in  general  use.  This  plan  worked  very  well. 
Fewer  losses  and  accidents  occurred.  A  greater  respect  for 
school  property  as  well  as  for  each  other's  was  evidenced  after 
they  had  purchased  a  portion  of  their  own  supplies. 

A  study  of  the  various  theories  of  the  nebular  hypothesis,  of 
the  position  of  the  fixed  stars  relative  to  the  earth's  yearly  mo- 
tion, and  a  brief  summary  of  the  theory  of  the  comets,  me- 

9  The  time  spent  on  this  geographical  measurement  amounted  to  about 
an  hour  and  a  half  a  week  for  three  quarters. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  217 

teorites,  and  the  character  of  the  larger  planets  were  correlative 
with  this  work  on  intuitional  geometric  construction.  The  boys 
were  much  interested  in  parts  of  a  lecture  given  by  Mr. 
Chamberlain  at  the  University,  and  a  few  attended  a  lecture 
by  Sir  Robert  Ball.  Many  of  the  technical  terms  were  beyond 
their  understanding,  but  they  were  able  to  give  a  fairly  good 
account  of  Mr.  Chamberlain's  meteoric  theory  and  the  forma- 
tion of  the  continents  and  ocean  basins. 

The  plan  had  been  to  follow  the  review  of  the  nebular  hy- 
pothesis with  regular  work  that  the  rest  of  Group  IX  had  been 
doing  on  the  geological  history  of  the  North  American  con- 
tinent. The  experimental  science  correlative  with  this  was  to 
have  illustrated  the  formation  of  sedimentary  rocks.  However, 
these  boys'  vivid  interest  in  their  first  taste  of  astronomy  and 
the  concentrated  attention  given  the  geometrical  construction 
seemed  to  make  it  worth  while  to  go  on  with  this  work.  The 
main  interest  was  in  the  great  stretches  of  time  involved,  the 
conceptions  of  motion  and  space.  They  also  showed  an  appreci- 
ation of  the  orderly  sequence  involved  in  what  had  before 
seemed  to  them  very  irregular  phenomena. 

The  boys'  grasp  of  the  use  of  geometrical  construction  in 
their  experimental  attempts  to  reconstruct  instruments  of 
measurement  which  had  been  of  such  untold  value  to  men  il- 
lustrates the  educational  import  of  the  experimental  method. 
Knowledge  or  skill  that  is  tested  and  found  useful  is  slipped 
into  the  sequence,  the  context,  the  category  where  it  logically 
belongs.  It,  therefore,  fits  into  the  intellectual  pattern  and  fuses 
into  the  emotional  satisfactions  of  active  experience  which 
flows  on  with  more  energy  because  of  it. 

This  work  with  a  difficult  group  of  boys  also  illustrates  the 
necessity  of  great  care  and  insight  on  the  teacher's  part  in  the 
choice  of  subject-matter  and  the  use  of  methods  that  are  in 
accord  with  the  individualized  interests  and  varying  abilities 
and  attitudes  of  children.  In  summarizing  the  results  of  this 
experimental  course  in  terms  of  the  development  of  its  indi- 
vidual members,  the  report  comments:  Three  out  of  this  group 
of  ten  needed  constant  assistance  in  their  experimental  work 
with  the  gases  and  liquids  and  with  the  construction  of  the 


218  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

pump,  syphon,  etc.  Three  had  a  good  grasp  of  what  they 
wanted  to  do,  but  little  skill  in  carrying  it  out,  and  four  were 
able  to  make  an  intelligent  plan  and  carry  it  through  without 
suggestions.  The  latter  also  were  resourceful  in  meeting  dif- 
ficulties encountered  in  the  material  or  the  process. 


SUMMARY 

A  change  of  attitude  in  the  approach  to  scientific  facts  and 
in  his  use  of  scientific  method  is  noticeable  in  the  average  child 
of  this  age,  and  a  corresponding  change  in  the  presentation  of 
subject-matter  is  essential.  At  the  end  of  his  twelfth  year  a 
child  in  Group  IX  was  familiar,  in  a  general  way,  with  many 
aspects  of  scientific  knowledge,  for  he  had  experimented  and 
observed  to  a  certain  extent  in  many  of  its  fields,  in  horticul- 
ture, ecology  and  zoology,  in  geology,  physiography,  as- 
tronomy, and  physical  and  commercial  geography,  in  physics 
and  chemistry,  biology  and  physiology.  All  this  study  and  all 
these  experiments  had  been  in  connection  with  activities  in 
social  life;  hence  few,  if  any,  of  these  facts  discovered  and 
learned  had  been  dislocated  from  their  logical  places  in  ex- 
perience. A  child  in  this  school  constantly  saw  natural  facts  or 
forces  in  relation  to  actual  situations  where  they  worked  or 
functioned  usefully.  In  consequence  his  idea  of  a  fact  or  a  force 
was  often  clothed,  so  to  speak,  with  a  concrete  dress  of  use.  Just 
as  their  study  of  social  life— its  occupations  and  relationships- 
had  made  them  at  ease  in  a  world  of  men,  so  familiarity  with 
beginnings  of  natural  law  and  scientific  method  made  them 
unafraid  and  able  to  follow  the  gleam  of  native  curiosity- 
grown  in  many  cases  to  an  eager  and  intelligent  interest.  This 
interest  was  gradually  extending  itself  to  causes  and  farther 
objectives.  Coupled  with  an  increased  ability  to  abstract  natu- 
ral fact,  material,  or  theory  from  its  place  in  experience,  to 
handle  it,  to  experiment  with  it,  to  analyze  it,  and  to  formulate 
statements  or  principles  with  regard  to  it,  the  child's  thought 
began  to  play  around  a  problem,  just  because  it  was  a  problem, 
to  hypothecate  premises  with  regard  to  it,  and  to  attempt  to 
prove  by  experiment  the  truth  or  falsity  of  these  premises. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  219 

Some  of  these  children  had  almost  caught  up  with  the  adult 
point  of  view.  They  were  beginning  to  see  science  as  knowledge 
logically  arranged  (or  possible  of  such  arrangement)  for  the 
purpose  of  searching  out  more  knowledge.  This  was  not  true 
by  any  means  of  all,  nor  of  some  all  of  the  time.  Such  insight 
came  irregularly  and  most  often  at  the  heels  of  eager  interest; 
it  often  took  flight  as  die  result  of  dismal  failure  in  technique. 

This  same  attitude  was  apparent  and  had  extended  itself  to 
a  method  of  proceeding  in  all  the  forms  of  activities  of  this 
period.  In  history,  the  average  child  of  this  group  had  a  con- 
crete background  and  an  intellectual  appreciation  of  social 
life,  which  enabled  him  to  follow  political  history  with  a 
degree  of  interest  and  to  understand  something  of  the  con- 
tribution that  various  civilizations  have  made  to  the  sum  total 
of  the  present  day.  He  was  able  to  stand  an  increased  emphasis 
on  the  analysis  of  language  forms,  whether  English  or  foreign, 
and  could  find  the  synthetic  use  of  such  analysis  in  his  own 
efforts  at  composition.  In  his  number  work,  the  same  attitude 
was  shown  in  the  ability  to  formulate  for  himself  definitions 
of  numerical  processes  such  as  ratio  and  proportion  and  to 
state  the  method  used  in  solving  a  problem.  In  music,  a  genu- 
ine desire  to  compose  a  song  that  expressed  the  highest  musical 
consciousness  of  the  group  was  proved  by  the  slow  critical  work 
of  an  entire  quarter.  In  art,  he  was  ready  for  a  conscious  at- 
tention to  esthetic  elements.  He  was  led  to  think  of  art  as  ap- 
pealing to  the  sense  of  beauty  and,  in  his  own  work,  to  regard 
beautiful  arrangement  as  well  as  the  mere  telling  of  a  story. 
He  could  in  some  measure  appreciate  that  difference  in  effect 
is  accomplished  by  difference  in  arrangement  of  line,  mass, 
and  color,  and  his  critical  sense  was  cultivated  and  exercised 
by  study  of  classic  examples  of  different  effects  gained  by 
various  methods  and  by  his  own  attempts  to  sketch  from 
memory  some  chosen  painting.  At  the  end  of  this  year  these 
children  had  a  start  in  their  own  use  of  knowledge  and  search 
for  it,  and  some  skill  in  using  the  method  of  experimental  re- 
search. 


CHAPTER    XII 

EXPERIMENTS     IN     SPECIALIZED 
ACTIVITIES 

GROUP  x  (AGE  THIRTEEN) 

programs  for  the  older  children  of  the  school,  and  in 
particular  for  Groups  XI  and  XII,  were  highly  experimental  in 
character.  The  life  of  the  experiment  was  too  short  to  revise 
these  tentative  beginnings  for  the  close  of  the  elementary  and 
the  beginning  of  the  secondary  periods.  The  worth  of  the  re- 
sults, therefore,  lies  in  what  they  suggest  for  other  experimen- 
tation of  a  similar  kind,  rather  than  in  what  they  prove  or 
disprove. 

REVIEW  OF  THE   COLONIAL  PERIOD 

The  average  number  in  Group  X  was  ten.1  Most  had  been 
in  the  school  since  its  beginning  which  materially  helped  the 
successful  accomplishment  of  the  program.  The  centralizing 
factor  in  the  work,  aside  from  club  activities,  was  a  daily  dis- 
cussion of  current  events.  Young  as  they  were,  these  children 
had  an  understanding  of  how  social  life  is  conditioned  by  and 
organized  around  the  industrial  life  of  a  people  and,  in  turn, 
sets  the  trend  of  the  subsequent  type  of  governmental  policy 
and  political  thought.2  They,  therefore,  had  gained  a  com- 
prehensive viewpoint  which  enabled  them,  at  thirteen,  to 
cover  the  early  colonial  period  of  United  States  history  far 


1  Teacher,  Georgia  G.  Bacon. 

2  "Government  was  presented  not  as  a  static  thing,  but  as  an  organization 
for  the  regulation  of  the  industrial  and  social  life  of  a  people,  changing 
to  meet  changing  needs/*  George  F.  Bacon,  "History,"  Elementary  School 
Record,  Vol.  i,  No.  8. 

220 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  221 

more  quickly  and  intelligently  than  they  had  in  their  first 
study  two  years  before.  They  were  able  to  picture  the  various 
types  of  social  life,  the  special  significance  of  each  colony,  and 
the  particular  contribution  which  each  made  to  the  whole 
country's  history.  A  number  of  topics  on  different  aspects  of 
a  situation  or  period  were  suggested.  Each  one  in  the  group 
read  and  reported  on  a  subject  of  his  own  choice.  The  chil- 
dren were  thus  encouraged  to  make  their  own  investigations; 
at  the  same  time  they  were  directed  in  their  reading  and  in 
the  organization  of  their  material.  A  large  number  of  books 
were  listed,  and  each  child  was  urged  to  seek  out  his  own 
sources  and  to  get  the  help  of  parents  and  friends  in  writing 
up  his  topics.  The  questions  and  topics  given  were  of  such  a 
nature  as  to  lead  them  to  make  use  of  their  experience  in 
thinking  out  the  answers.  To  gather  together  what  they  had 
learned,  a  general  outline  was  made  of  important  events,  with 
sub-groupings  for  the  subordinate.  This  outline  was  used  by 
each  child  in  writing  his  own  report.  This  was  not  a  memory 
test,  but  a  logical  arrangement  of  those  facts  which  might  be 
useful.  Books  were  freely  consulted  during  the  writing. 

With  the  completion  of  the  first  quarter's  work  in  history, 
the  children  had  come  in  their  continued  story  of  the  stream  of 
time  and  the  accomplishments  of  man,  close  to  their  own 
period  and  conditions  of  living.  The  text  of  the  story  was 
always  the  way  different  groups  of  people  had  dealt  with,  used, 
and  subdued  their  environment,  how  they  had  wrung  from 
it  the  means  for  its  further  subduing  and  more  adequate 
ministering  to  their  rapidly  increasing  needs.  In  following  the 
details  of  this  oft  repeated  story,  these  children  saw  that  as 
man's  needs  increased  in  number  and  kind,  so  did  his  apprecia- 
tion of  the  value  of  satisfied  senses,  of  convenience,  of  comfort, 
of  beauty  deepen.  Each  child  saw  and  often  reenacted  the  part 
that  activity  played  in  all  this  moving  and  dynamic  drama. 
Ideas  became  deeds  and  brought  about  results  that  changed 
current  ways  of  living  and  gave  incentive  to  a  further  quest. 
When  the  mental  image  of  the  bow  and  arrow  first  found 
form  and  use  and  brought  down  food  or  the  beast  of  prey  from 
afar,  it  made  of  living  a  less  tortured  thing  and  brought  satis- 


222  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

faction  to  appetite,  release  from  fear,  renewed  confidence  in 
ability,  and  increased  desire  for  the  struggle.  These  children, 
sailing  their  tiny  ships  along  the  Mediterranean  coast,  realized 
the  release  to  sail  fearlessly  into  the  wide  ocean  brought  by 
the  discovery  of  the  compass.  Into  the  small  rivulets  of  each 
child's  experience,  therefore,  flowed  these  tricklings  from  the 
great  stream  of  human  endeavor,  the  doings  of  man,  his  in- 
ventions, his  discoveries,  his  accomplishments  in  the  physical 
world,  his  method  of  thinking,  and  the  growing  fabric  of  his 
social  relationship.  Impelled  to  action  by  the  same  funda- 
mental desire  to  express,  and  again  to  re-express,  to  invent  and 
then  to  re-invent,  to  do  once  and  re-do  under  the  spell  of  the 
reward  of  ever  better  doing,  these  children  of  the  present  fol- 
lowed the  fast  moving  life-stream  of  the  past.  Through  his 
power  of  imaginative  thinking,  each  child  became,  to  a  greater 
or  lesser  extent,  one  of  its  currents  and  was  swept  into  and 
carried  on  to  a  more  sympathetic  understanding  of  the  dy- 
namic story  of  the  race.  Little  by  little  the  idea  was  born  that 
the  use  of  thinking  is  to  manage  experience.  This  idea,  through 
use  of  it,  grew  into  a  consciously  formulated  principle  that 
guided  daily  activities  with  the  result  that  out  of  repeated 
successes  and  failures  these  children  gained  the  ability  to  think 
logically  and  to  the  point,  to  plan,  and,  in  varying  degree,  to 
decide  judiciously  and  execute  effectively.  Many  of  them,  con- 
fronted by  a  dividing  of  the  ways,  an  ambiguous  situation 
presenting  a  dilemma  or  proposing  an  alternative,  were  less 
and  less  often  disposed  to  conclude  that  the  solution  or  deci- 
sion was  beyond  them.  Both  as  individuals  and  as  a  group  they 
recognized  that  a  forked-road  situation  required  thinking  and 
were  willing  to  consider  before  leaping  into  action.  Steadied 
and  inspired  by  the  desire  to  find  the  best  way  out,  they  were 
ready  to  discuss  a  plan  and  the  steps  of  a  plan.  In  case  of  failure 
they  were  not  so  easily  discouraged  as  most  children,  for  they 
generally  had  an  alternative,  or  by  eliminating  the  factor 
which  might  have  caused  failure,  could  thus  revise  the  original 
plan  and  bring  it  to  a  successful  completion. 

At  thirteen  years,  therefore,  these  children,  as  a  result  of 
experience,  were  able  in  some  measure  to  abstract  facts  for 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  223 

use  in  activity,  to  generalize  on  the  basis  of  repeated  use  of 
these  facts,  and  to  formulate  principles  on  the  strength  of 
substantiated  generalizations.  In  consequence,  their  viewpoint 
was  gradually  changing,  particularly  in  the  more  extended 
fields  of  their  experience,  from  the  psychological  approach  of 
the  learner  or  mere  observer  of  facts  to  the  logical  one  of  the 
adult,  who  observes  to  an  end  and  classifies  what  he  has  ob- 
served writh  the  purpose  of  its  further  use.  For  the  most  part 
each  child  began  to  see  the  value  to  him  of  reviews,  of  sum- 
maries, of  the  analysis  of  a  problem  or  a  situation,  of  the  clas- 
sification of  facts  into  their  categories,  or  the  logical  arrange- 
ment of  knowledge  to  facilitate  its  further  use  in  any  field  of 
activity.  This  appreciation  wras  shown  in  various  ways,  for 
example:  the  agenda  of  their  club  meeting  or  program  for 
assembly  was  prepared  so  that  it  had  logical  sequence.  This 
was  true  too  of  the  preparation  of  the  points  of  a  debate  or 
assembly  paper,  or  the  arrangement  of  the  data  of  an  experi- 
ment. 

Out  of  the  increasing  ability  to  observe,  to  analyze,  and  to 
select  that  which  might  be  adapted  to  use,  emerged  a  growing 
sense  of  power  in  self-expression,  of  ability  to  link  observed 
facts  in  new  combinations  or  to  fashion  raw  materials  into  the 
more  finished  product  that  satisfied  the  growing  and  increas- 
ingly critical  mental  concept.  This  budding  desire  to  put 
things  together  after  taking  them  apart  and  the  appreciation 
that  the  purpose  of  analysis  is  a  re-synthesis  which  may  be 
better  than  the  former  whole  marked  a  new  stage  of  growth. 
Power  to  conceive,  to  evaluate,  and  skill  to  execute  were  indi- 
cations of  the  birth  of  individual  creative  power.  The  hereto- 
fore intensely  satisfying  story  of  what  man  had  done  paled 
before  the  exciting  and  fascinating  thing  that  each  boy  or  girl 
felt  he  might  do.  For  each  the  present,  his  own  experiments,  his 
work  in  shop  or  studio,  his  own  social  position  in  his  class,  his 
club,  his  school,  his  family,  became  of  paramount  importance. 
The  study  of  history  became  far  less  important  than  the  mak- 
ing of  his  own  history.  His  own  activities,  and  in  particular 
those  which  had  become  particularly  significant  and  useful  be- 
cause of  the  consequences  they  had  accomplished,  took  on  a 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

continuous  character  with  a  growing  purpose.  Because  of  the 
social  character  of  the  school,  the  distinctive  capacity  of  each 
child  found  an  outlet  through  his  preferred  activity.  This 
individual  expression  often  proved  of  service  to  his  group  or 
to  the  school.  Because  of  the  unique  nature  of  the  school's  or- 
ganization, these  children  had  greater  opportunity  than  most, 
not  only  to  find  out  what  each  liked  best  or  was  fitted  to  do, 
but,  so  far  as  possible,  opportunity  to  do  it.  They,  therefore, 
earlier  than  most  children,  learned  what  their  preferred  oc- 
cupations were  and  received  training  for  them  by  training  in 
them.  Their  individual  needs  and  interests  were  the  clues, 
the  sign-posts,  that  constantly  indicated  growing  capacity  and 
special  aptitude. 

PHOTOGRAPHY,    THE   BASIS   OF   SCIENTIFIC  ACTIVITY 

One  of  the  vital  interests  of  Group  X  was  photography. 
As  Group  IX  they  had  made  pin-hole  cameras  in  the  shop  and 
were  anxious  to  perfect  these  and  go  on  to  the  actual  taking, 
development,  and  printing  of  pictures.  Many  of  them  had  car- 
ried on  their  own  experiments  during  the  summer  and  were  all 
ready,  therefore,  so  far  as  interest  went,  to  grapple  with  the 
study  of  light,  already  planned  for  their  autumn  program. 

In  their  work  on  the  growth  of  North  America,  the  previous 
year,  this  group  had  reviewed  and  summarized  the  various 
theories  of  the  earth's  formation,  its  position  in  the  solar  sys- 
tem in  relation  to  climatic  conditions,  and  the  main  physical 
forces  which  have  formed  and  are  still  forming  the  continent  of 
North  America.  It  was  considered  highly  important  to  em- 
phasize the  dynamic  quality  of  this  study  in  order  that  the 
child  might  understand  the  present  as  but  a  stage  in  a  long 
series  of  changes  and  realize  a  link  to  future  ones,  and  that  the 
physical  (and  social)  forces,  which  acted  in  the  past  to  bring 
about  these  changes,  act  still. 

In  this  second  imaginative  remaking  of  a  continent,  much 
explanation  is  necessary  to  secure  typical  experiences  of  such 
things  as  the  action  of  a  gas  on  a  solid,  the  solution  of  solids 
and  the  change  by  such  action  in  water,  the  crystallization  of 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  225 

the  solid  from  that  solution,  the  solution  of  a  gas  in  a  liquid, 
and  the  conditions  which  determine  that  solution.  These  ex- 
periments were  illustrations  that  unlocked  the  secret  meaning 
of  the  processes  that  formed  the  earth.  They  were  also  planned 
to  demonstrate  some  present  use  of  the  material  involved. 

Through  a  physiographic  first-hand  study  of  local  conditions 
near  Chicago  the  children  had  gained  a  series  of  mental  pictures 
of  the  action  of  glaciers,  rivers,  waves,  and  the  formation  of 
sand  dunes.  The  outstanding  characteristics  of  the  chief  evolu- 
tionary types  of  plant  and  animal  life  were  restated.  During 
the  year  the  work  was  still  further  differentiated  along  the  physi- 
cal and  biological  aspects.  Emphasis  was  successively  laid  on 
special  forms  of  energy,  gravity,  electricity,  heat,  in  relation  to 
their  geological  study.  On  the  biological  side,  particular  con- 
sideration was  given  to  the  study  of  function.  This  again  related 
to  a  special  consideration  of  the  respiratory  system  and  digestive 
tract  in  relation  to  types  of  food  and  methods  of  preparation. 
A  natural  transition  had  thus  been  made  by  means  of  practical 
or  applied  science  to  a  more  technical  study  of  biology  and 
physics.  The  interest  in  photography  also  made  this  transition 
a  natural  one  from  the  children's  point  of  view. 

Group  X's  work  in  science  3  during  the  first  quarter,  there- 
fore, related  itself  to  a  use  of  the  camera  and  a  study  of  its 
parts,  the  meaning  of  laws  of  focusing  and  of  perspective.  Other 
instruments  such  as  the  microscope,  telescope,  the  magic  lantern, 
and  the  primitive  methods  of  signaling  by  means  of  mirrors 
were  included  in  the  course.  Many  excursions  were  made  to 
the  University  laboratory  to  see  perfected  instruments,  such  as 
the  interferometer  and  spectroscope,  for  demonstrating  what 
they  could  only  roughly  approximate  or  estimate.  This  connec- 
tion with  the  University  and  adults  who  were  studying  and 
working  on  the  same  problems  steadied  and  heightened  the 
children's  appreciation  of  the  importance  and  reality  of  their 


s  Arthur  Taber  Jones,  a  student  of  Professor  A,  A.  Michelson's.  Mr.  Jones 
came  each  day  fresh  from  his  own  laboratory  study  and  was  unusually 
successful  in  his  experiment  of  recalling  the  course  of  the  college  laboratory 
so  that  children  were  able  to  carry  on  simplified  experiments  demonstrating 
the  same  principles. 


226  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

work.  The  actual  work  was  a  series  of  experiments  on  light, 
bringing  out  the  principles  involved  in  the  construction  of  an 
image  in  a  convex  lens.  The  children  began  by  working  out 
the  laws  which  govern  the  size  of  a  shadow.  Two  sets  of  experi- 
ments were  carried  out  which  required  careful  work  and  covered 
a  number  of  periods.  At  their  close,  the  children  were  ready  for 
the  construction  of  an  image  in  a  convex  lens.  This  was  worked 
out  four  times  with  dimensions  given  by  the  teacher.4  Some 
work  in  reflection  was  also  undertaken,  the  relation  between 
the  complements  of  the  angles  of  incidence  and  reflection  being 
worked  out  by  a  diagram.  Some  part  of  the  class  periods  was 
given  to  a  discussion  of  instruments  in  which  lenses  are  used. 
The  class  made  out  lists  of  all  the  instruments  they  could  think 
of  that  used  lenses,  and  had  some  fifteen  to  talk  about.  The 
one  of  greatest  interest  was  probably  the  spectroscope.  The 
group  visited  Ryerson  Physical  Laboratory  and  saw  a  spectro- 
scope and  a  few  spectra. 

The  children  were  then  ready  for  simple  photography.  In 
preparation  they  had  been  making  pin-hole  cameras  in  the 
shop  and  frames  to  form  a  dark  room.  As  a  first  experiment,  a 
piece  of  leather  was  moistened  with  a  solution  of  silver  nitrate, 
as  Thomas  Wedgewood  did.  A  design  in  paper  was  then  pinned 
on  the  leather  and  the  whole  exposed  to  the  light.  After  a  time 
it  was  noticed  that  the  part  of  the  leather  not  covered  by  the 
paper  had  darkened  considerably,  while  that  covered  was  not 
noticeably  darker  than  when  the  paper  was  put  on. 

A  brief  description  of  the  daguerreotype  followed,  and  the 
work  of  Fox  Talbot  was  taken  up.  For  illustration  by  experi- 
ment, some  silver  chloride  was  precipitated  from  a  solution  of 
sodium  chloride  by  pouring  into  it  a  solution  of  silver  nitrate. 
The  precipitated  silver  chloride  was  then  spread  on  a  paper 
in  the  light  and  darkened  rather  rapidly.  The  mechanism  of 
different  kinds  of  cameras  and  the  uses  of  the  parts  were  studied, 


*  The  results  of  individual  children  agreed  about  as  closely  as  could  be 
expected.  A  comment  is  made  that  the  children  evidently  enjoy  this  kind 
of  work.  One  of  them  exclaimed  the  other  day  in  a  tone  of  extreme  gladness 
and  importance,  "Oh,  Mr.  Jones,  we've  made  a  discovery." 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  227 

but  any  further  work  in  the  development  of  pictures  was  made 
impossible  because  there  was  no  dark  room.  Even  space  for  the 
construction  of  one  was  lacking.  Interest  in  practical  photog- 
raphy for  the  time  being,  therefore,  waned,  and  the  course  was 
discontinued  until  later  in  the  year. 

The  science  for  the  winter  quarter  was  a  continuation  of  the 
study  of  light,  emphasizing  the  history  of  the  various  scientific 
theories  as  to  its  nature.  The  children  first  reviewed  and  stated 
the  four  conditions  necessary  for  the  sight  of  an  object:  (i)  the 
object  must  be  present  and  within  range  of  the  eye;  (2)  the  eye 
must  be  directed  toward  the  object;  (3)  there  must  be  no  opaque 
body  between  the  eye  and  the  object;  (4)  light  must  be  present. 

The  various  theories  of  the  ancient  Greeks  and  the  corpuscu- 
lar theory  of  the  sixteenth  century  were  then  stated.  Each  of 
these  was  tested  by  the  four  conditions  listed  above.  The  wave 
theory  was  considered,  and  the  objections  to  it  discussed.  The 
action  of  waves  of  light  was  roughly  illustrated  by  the  vibra- 
tions of  a  piece  of  rubber  tubing.  Experiments  with  the  tuning 
fork  and  with  vibrating  strings  brought  out  the  principle  of 
interference.  The  use  of  the  interferometer  was  explained,  and 
a  study  of  the  spectrum  and  the  spectroscope  followed.  The 
composition  of  white  light  wras  demonstrated  by  experiment 
The  relation  of  the  rate  of  vibration  to  tension  and  length  was 
brought  out  by  the  use  of  the  rubber  tubing.  A  brief  study  of 
spectrum  analysis  and  of  the  recent  discoveries  made  by  its 
use  was  the  final  work  before  writing  up  the  record  of  the 
quarter.  The  group  all  saw  that  by  means  of  the  solar  spectrum 
some  idea  has  been  gained  of  the  constitution  and  temperature 
of  the  sun.  In  view  of  the  prevalent  skepticism  about  the 
capacity  of  children  of  this  age  to  understand  such  a  science 
course  as  the  above,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  these  children 
had  had  five  years  of  experience  in  this  kind  of  schooling.  This 
meant  five  years  of  training  in  experimental  method  and  prac- 
tices. Their  first  attempt  in  the  abstractions  necessary  in  the 
scientific  treatment  of  their  environment  had  been  made  four 
years  before  when  they  had  learned  general  scientific  principles 
through  the  use  of  what  they  themselves  saw  happening  around 


228  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

them.  They  then  related  this  to  their  previous  incursions  into 
geology  and  thus  linked  their  experiences  in  the  two  fields  of 
physiography  and  geology. 

In  the  spring  the  children  again  took  up  the  study  of  botany, 
beginning  with  a  review  of  their  knowledge  of  the  functions 
of  leaves.  The  following  facts  were  formulated:  leaves  receive 
light  and  give  off  water;  they  absorb  and  give  off  carbon  dioxide. 
Seeds  of  different  kinds  were  planted  in  order  to  have  a  variety 
of  plants  for  study.  They  then  began  some  experiments  to  show 
the  effect  of  exposure  to  light  on  the  amount  of  starch  found 
in  the  leaves.  Leaves  of  a  growing  plant  were  protected  from 
light  by  thin  pieces  of  cork  fastened  above  and  below,  and 
when  it  was  found  that  the  chlorophyl  had  noticeably  decreased, 
the  part  of  the  leaf  which  had  been  protected  was  boiled  in 
alcohol  to  remove  the  chlorophyl  and  then  tested  with  iodine. 
No  starch  was  found,  and  the  children  concluded  that  light  is 
necessary  to  its  formation.  Another  experiment  had  for  its  ob- 
ject a  comparison  of  the  rate  of  evaporation  from  the  upper 
with  that  from  the  under  side  of  leaves,  and  that  during  the  day 
with  that  at  night.  The  experiments  were  supplemented  by 
correlated  reading.  A  study  of  the  parts  of  flowers  in  relation 
to  function  was  also  included  in  the  course,  using  the  iris,  the 
nasturtium,  and  the  wild  mustard  blossoms. 

Toward  the  close  of  the  fall  quarter  the  demands  of  the  very 
active  Camera  Club  for  a  dark  room  grew  loud  and  insistent. 
Lack  of  space  in  the  house  at  Ellis  Avenue,  which  two  years 
before  had  seemed  so  large  and  commodious,  was  cramping  and 
checking  this  and  other  of  the  rapidly  growing  interests  of 
the  older  children,  specializing,  as  many  of  them  were,  along 
lines  which  called  for  new  equipment  and  space  for  individual 
experimenting. 

THE   CLUB-HOUSE   PROJECT 

In  response  to  these  many  developing  angles  of  interest  a 
number  of  social  organizations  had  sprung  up.  The  most  active 
enterprise  was  a  Dewey  Club  for  discussion  and  debate.  This 
group,  like  the  Camera  Club  and  all  the  others,  was  sadly 
put  to  it  for  quarters.  There  was  no  spot  which  they  could  call 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  2*9 

their  own,  where  their  meetings  could  be  free  from  interruption 
and  under  their  own  control.  Out  of  the  actual,  pressing,  and 
felt  need  of  the  children  the  idea  of  the  club-house  was  born— 
an  actual  house  planned,  built,  and  furnished  by  themselves. 
The  two  clubs  joined  forces,  discussed  the  idea,  consulted  with 
the  adults,  and  decided  that  the  erection  of  a  club-house  was  a 
feasible  plan.  Committees  on  architecture,  building,  sanitation, 
ways  and  means,  and  interior  decoration  were  formed,  each  with 
a  head  chosen  because  of  experience  in  directing  affairs.  The 
site  for  the  building  was  chosen  under  the  guidance  of  the 
teachers  in  the  different  departments;  plans  were  made  and 
the  cost  estimated.  A  scheme  for  decoration  was  worked  out, 
designs  for  furniture  made.  The  choice  of  a  location  was 
prefaced  by  a  study  of  the  formation  of  soil,  the  conditions  of 
drainage,  climate,  exposure  to  light  or  wind,  which  must  be 
taken  into  account  in  building  a  house.  The  contrast  between 
city  and  country  requirements  was  noted  Each  member  of  the 
group  was  afterwards  asked  to  draw  a  plan  for  the  house,  keep 
ing  all  the  above  points  in  mind. 

The  choice  of  the  site  of  the  house  in  relation  to  the  type  of 
foundation  was  extended  into  a  study  of  the  relation  of  material 
and  range  of  soil  to  house  sites  in  general.  This  led  to  a  larger 
consideration  of  the  character  of  Chicago  city  sites.  The  im- 
portance to  city  building  of  a  knowledge  of  its  underlying 
geological  formation  in  its  effect  on  drainage  was  the  point  of 
departure  for  the  subsequent  study  of  the  physiography  of  the 
region.  This  study  reviewed  the  physical  geography  of  Chicago 
and  the  city's  unique  trading  situation  in  the  Great  Lakes, 
its  drainage  problem,  the  building  of  the  canal.  The  course 
in  local  physiography  and  geography  consisted  almost  entirely 
of  field  trips  under  a  teacher  trained  at  the  University  of  Chi- 
cago by  Professor  Rollin  D.  Salisbury.  These  field  trips  were 
followed  by  write-ups  of  notes  and  class  discussions.  Maps  were 
drawn  to  illustrate  the  formation  of  the  great  lakes  and  the 
St.  Lawrence  Valley  by  the  retreating  glaciers.  The  whole  course 
was  characterized  recently  by  one  of  its  members  as  one  of  the 
most  interesting  studies  he  had  ever  had. 
In  the  meantime  the  children's  own  problem  of  a  club-house 


230  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

site  had  related  Itself  through  skilfully  directed  discussion  to 
large  and  interesting  facts,  such  as  the  difficulties  engineers  had 
met  in  constructing  the  foundation  piers  of  the  huge  downtown 
buildings  and  the  direct  relation  of  well  drained  building  sites 
to  health  and  security.  The  details  of  what  constitute  sanitary 
conditions,  such  as  proper  ventilation  to  prevent  dampness, 
were  worked  out  by  the  class.  Similarly,  the  size  and  proportion 
of  the  windows,  the  relation  of  the  amount  of  light  admitted 
to  health,  proportions  and  proper  placing  of  the  fireplace  so 
that  it  was  both  pleasing  and  convenient,  all  these  presented  no 
inconsiderable  problems.5  Moreover,  because  of  the  diminutive 
size  of  the  building,  small  errors  would  be  important,  which 
in  turn  magnified  the  need  of  accurate  measurement  and  work- 
manship. 

In  the  studio,  discussion  went  on  as  to  the  style  of  architecture 
that  would  be  suitable.  This  was  the  occasion  for  a  brief  study 
of  architecture  and  the  origin  of  the  various  familiar  types. 
Among  other  things  the  children  found  that  Greece  and  Egypt 
were  the  homes  of  the  lintel,  Rome  of  the  round  arch,  and 
Europe  of  the  pointed  arch  of  Gothic  and  Saracenic  architec- 
ture. The  style  which  they  at  last  selected  for  their  club-house 
was  "just  as  colonial  as  we  can  make  it."  They  discussed  house 
decorations  and  furnishings  and  decided  that  only  the  beauti- 
ful and  the  useful  have  any  excuse  for  existence.  The  qualities 
judged  necessary  for  use  were  strength,  durability,  and  firmness 
of  material;  for  beauty,  form,  color,  quality  of  material,  and 
consistent  style.  This  study  included  the  sketching  and  modeling 
of  antique  buildings,  the  study  of  pictures,  and  trips  to  the 
Field  Museum.  In  addition,  outdoor  sketching  as  a  basis  for 
the  study  of  perspective  was  carried  on  through  the  spring 
quarter. 

The  interior  decoration,  like  the  problem  of  the  fireplace  and 
windows,  was  a  subject  of  many  exciting  questions  and  discus- 
sions with  the  art  and  textile  teachers.  Mistakes  were  often 
made  and  were  permitted.  When  against  the  advice  of  the 
elders,  the  committee  chose  a  stain  for  the  walls  which  proved 

s  A  mason  was  secured  to  help  with  the  fireplace  on  the  advice  of  the 
parents  in  order  that  all  risk  of  fire  from  a  defective  flue  might  be  avoided. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  231 

too  dark  for  a  small  room,  the  problems  of  curtains  and  cushions 
became  serious,  for  much  color  was  necessary  to  brighten  and 
lighten  the  general  effect. 

A  considerable  amount  of  the  actual  construction  of  the 
little  house  was  accomplished  by  the  children  with  no  outside 
help.  Work  proceeded  rather  slowly,  however,  for  Group  X 
only  included  twelve  members.  The  club-house,  moreover,  was 
their  own  pet  project,  and  they  jealously  guarded  the  privilege 
of  work  upon  it.  Pressure  of  their  other  classes  left  only  a  small 
amount  of  school  time  for  the  work,  so  much 8  was  done  in  the 
children's  free  time  at  noons  and  after  school.  Complications 
also  arose.  The  Camera  Club  insisted  upon  a  stairway  to  the 
attic,  which  was  their  dark  room.  This  complicated  the  interior 
construction.  The  children,  however,  met  this  problem  with 
some  help,  careful  planning,  and  allotment  of  tasks  according 
to  interest  and  ability.  No  part  of  the  interior  finishing  was  at- 
tempted until  working  drawings  had  been  completed.  This 
was  true  also  of  each  piece  of  furniture  constructed.  Many  of 
these  drawings  were  made  in  the  studio  under  constant  direc- 
tion. Those  responsible  for  them  were  held  to  an  astonishing 
degree  of  accuracy  in  order  to  avoid  having  a  drawing  turned 
back  by  the  carpenters  with  sharp  criticism  couched  in  no  un- 
certain terms.  The  report  indicates  that  on  the  completion  of 
the  working  drawings  of  the  stairway,  the  front  door,  the 
window  trim,  and  interior  finish,  the  children  so  thoroughly 
understood  what  was  to  be  done  that  in  the  shop  all  the  dif- 
ferent structural  parts  of  the  stairway  were  taken  charge  of 
by  the  girls  in  the  class,  each  being  responsible  for  the  part 
selected.  The  boys  assumed  responsibility  for  the  front  door, 
cut  the  stock,  and  on  its  completion  considered  the  difficulties 
which  would  be  met  when  they  put  on  the  hinges  and  hung  the 
door.  On  the  stairway,  the  different  structural  parts  such  as  the 
stringers  were  carefully  marked  out  to  show  the  proper  size  of 
treads  and  risers,  and  the  upper  and  lower  ends  labeled  to  make 
the  proper  connections  with  the  adjoining  parts,  whether  the 
first  part,  the  landing,  or  the  second  story  floor.  The  four 


*  Preparation  for  college  board  examinations  had  also  begun. 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

stringers  were  all  nicely  sawed  from  2"  x  12"  planks  and  put  up. 
The  joists,  posts,  and  framework  of  the  two  landings  were  then 
prepared,  and  work  commenced  on  the  treads  and  risers.  All 
the  pieces  and  parts  were  made  in  the  shop  by  individuals  work- 
ing from  the  drawings  and  were  then  assembled  in  the  club- 
house by  the  entire  class.  Covering  the  ceiling  and  walls  with 
flooring  was  comparatively  quick  work.  Finishing  the  mantel 
piece  with  shellac,  installing  the  trim  of  doors  and  windows 
and  a  bric-a-brac  shelf  on  brackets  extending  around  the  room, 
made  the  house  ready  to  receive  the  furniture,  which  the  chil- 
dren were  anxious  to  plan  and  make.  All  the  children  were 
increasingly  enthusiastic  and  lent  their  best  efforts  as  they  saw 
the  vision  of  the  completed  building.  There  were  times,  of 
course,  when  interest  waned,  as  with  the  shingling  of  the  roof. 
This  work,  involving  much  drudgery  in  the  hot  sun,  was  a 
never-ending  job.  At  last,  emulating  Tom  Sawyer,  the  next 
lower  class  was  invited  to  assist,  and  in  one  noon  hour,  that 
which  had  been  gapping  to  the  skies  for  several  weeks  was  fin- 
ished with  the  aid  of  these  younger  brothers  and  sisters. 

As  the  work  went  on,  Group  X  realized  that  what  they  had 
undertaken  was  beyond  their  own  powers  to  accomplish,  and  lit- 
tle by  little  the  whole  school  was  drawn  into  cooperative  effort 
to  finish  the  building.  There  was  need  of  careful  suggestion 
and  direction  by  the  teachers,  both  to  avoid  too  much  and  too 
little  guidance  and  also  of  much  team-work  by  the  various 
departments  of  the  school.7  This  enterprise  was  the  most  thor- 
oughly considered  one  ever  undertaken  in  the  school.  Because 
of  its  purpose,  to  provide  a  home  for  their  own  clubs  and  in- 
terests, it  drew  together  many  groups  and  ages  and  performed 
a  distinctly  ethical  and  social  service.  It  ironed  out  many  evi- 

7  Frank  Ball,  head  of  the  Manual  Training  Department,  was  largely  re- 
sponsible for  the  successful  management  of  the  project  which  was  finally 
carried  to  conclusion  under  the  sympathetic  direction  of  Mr.  N.  and 
Mr.  G.  Fowler.  Clinton  S.  Osborn  (mathematics)  in  cooperation  with  Lil- 
lian Cushman  directed  the  plans  and  helped  the  children  select  their 
materials  and  make  out  their  specifications.  Althea  Harmer  (Home  Eco- 
nomics) directed  the  work  of  choosing  the  site  and  the  course  in  sanitation 
that  followed,  and  Harry  O.  Gillett,  its  further  extension  into  a  course  in 
geology  and  physiography  of  the  region.  The  art  and  textile  studios  were 
centers  of  activity  as  has  been  indicated. 


GIRLS    OF   GROUP   X    WORKING   ON    THE    CLUB-HOUSE 


THE   FINISHED   CLUB-HOUSE   IN    USE 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  233 

dences  of  an  unsocial  and  cliquish  spirit  which  had  begun  to 
appear  in  the  club  movement.  As  the  children  came  to  realize 
the  possibilities  afforded  by  the  cooperation  of  numbers,  this 
spirit  changed  from  an  exclusive  to  an  inclusive  one.  The  boys 
busy  on  the  benches  and  the  girls  working  on  the  cushions  were 
brought  together  by  a  common  purpose  as  they  had  not  been 
for  more  than  a  year.  The  original  club,  meanwhile,  took  on  a 
departmental  character,  with  sections  devoted  to  photography, 
botany,  debating,  and  science,  and  was  named  the  Educational 
Club.  Members  were  chosen  from  the  lower  groups,  and  various 
committees  were  appointed,  not  on  the  basis  of  personal  prefer- 
ence but  of  fitness  for  responsibilities.  Another  value  of  the 
project  was  that  the  children  made  contacts  with  a  wide  variety 
of  professional  people  whom  they  consulted  on  their  problems 
or  from  whom  they  purchased  supplies.8  An  hour  was  spent 
with  one  of  the  parents  in  discussing  parliamentary  law  in 
order  to  learn  how  to  conduct  a  meeting  on  house  member- 
ship. The  financial  organization  of  the  club  caused  frequent 
anxious  hours,  for  a  system  of  dues  and  fines  had  been  in- 
stalled which  proved  far  too  complicated. 

The  project  also  furnished  many  kinds  of  activities,  and  ex- 
cept where  it  was  essential  to  work  as  a  group,  each  child  was 
free  to  choose  his  sort  of  contribution.  To  the  great  delight  of 
all,  the  little  building  was  finished  and  furnished  in  the  latter 
part  of  the  last  year  of  the  school.  The  clubs  used  it,  but  for  all 
too  brief  a  time,  as  the  next  year  found  the  children  at  the  Uni- 
versity High  School,  some  distance  away  from  the  site  of  the 
old  Laboratory  School  and  their  club-house. 


THE  STUDY  OF  CURRENT  EVENTS 

In  the  meantime,  lest  the  groups  should  grow  too  self- 
centered  in  their  fascinating  project,  it  was  deemed  wise  for 
them  to  spend  some  time  on  current  events.  The  war  in  South 
Africa,  the  government  of  Porto  Rico,  and  the  transcontinental 

s  The  educational  value  of  purchasing  and  accounting  was  not  utilized 
as  fully  as  it  might  have  been,  owing  to  pressure  of  time  and  distance  from 
source  of  supplies. 


234  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

railways  were  among  the  topics  discussed.  Their  comment  upon 
the  state  of  affairs  in  Porto  Rico  was  to  the  effect  that  if  Eng- 
land had  treated  the  American  colonies  as  well  as  we  have 
treated  Porto  Rico  and  taxed  them  only  until  they  were  able 
to  take  care  of  themselves,  there  might  have  been  no  Revolu- 
tion. 

Before  taking  up  the  actual  progress  of  the  transcontinental 
railway,  the  class  looked  the  map  over  and  discussed  feasible 
plans.  There  was  great  discussion  as  to  whether  it  would  be 
better  to  build  a  bridge  over  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar  or  to  tunnel 
underneath,  but  the  latter  plan  finally  carried  the  day.  They 
were  then  told  of  the  plan  which  had  actually  been  made  for 
such  an  enterprise.  In  discussing  the  railway  across  China,  the 
children  were  greatly  impressed  with  the  opposition  shown  by 
China  to  the  advance  of  western  civilization  and  asked  what 
China  had  ever  done  to  benefit  the  world.  One  of  the  children 
said  in  this  discussion:  "Nations  are  just  like  people:  first  they 
are  little,  then  they  grow  big  and  die,  and  then  another  nation 
comes  along  and  takes  up  what  they  have  done  and  goes  on 
with  it." 

SUMMARY 

During  this  year  of  intense  activity  the  usual  attention  was 
given  to  an  increasing  use  of  language.  The  aim  was  to  inculcate 
an  increasing  respect  for  language  symbols  as  a  means  for  self- 
expression  and  for  description  of  individual  and  joint  under- 
takings. Such  use  of  language  brought  a  deepening  realization 
of  the  meaning  of  daily  experience  in  both  its  individual  and 
social  aspects.  It  involved  a  voluntary  search  for  new  words 
wherewith  to  describe  the  experiment,  the  excursion,  the  proc- 
ess, or  construction.  It  extended  the  meaning  of  present  living 
and  linked  it  to  the  doings,  the  sayings,  the  happenings,  dis- 
coveries, inventions,  formulations,  verbal  or  written  expres- 
sions of  persons  of  other  times  and  remote  places.  ' 

The  school  was  a  miniature  social  group  where  study  and 
growth  were  incident  to  shared  activity.  Its  playgrounds,  shops, 
work  rooms  and  laboratories  not  only  directed  the  natural  active 
tendencies  of  these  young  people  but  work  in  them  involved 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  235 

intercourse,  communication,  and  cooperation.  Language  was 
constantly  used  to  give  or  get  ideas  about  joint  work,  and  the 
children  quite  naturally  came  to  regard  the  right  descriptive 
words  as  the  best  means  of  getting  or  giving  social  direction 
to  a  joint  endeavor.  Their  vocabulary,  therefore,  was  built  up 
in  conjunction  with  their  use  of  the  physical  means.  Mental 
concepts  included  thing  or  process  and  word  or  words  to  de- 
scribe each.  The  children,  therefore,  could  talk  or  write  of  what 
they  did  with  comparative  ease  and  could  read  of  what  others 
had  accomplished  along  similar  lines  with  more  comprehension 
than  most  children  of  this  age.  Most  important  of  all,  as  a  re- 
sult of  having  shared  constantly  in  joint  undertakings,  the 
children  possessed  the  concrete  quality  of  mind  that  enabled 
them  to  understand  things  in  terms  of  the  use  made  of  them. 
Furthermore,  their  mental  attitudes  were  consistently  social. 
They  understood  things  in  terms  of  the  use  to  which  they  were 
turned  in  joint  or  shared  situations.  They  consequently  knew 
how  to  think,  to  plan,  to  act  as  a  group,  and  there  were  among 
them  those  who  had  grown  into  an  efficient  method  of  con- 
trolling and  directing  group  action  by  their  ready  statement  of 
plans  or  measures. 

There  were  some  in  the  group  who  wished  to  read  to  the 
school  assembly  what  they  had  written  with  the  expression 
that  would  convey  their  thought  more  accurately.  They  were 
interested  in  studying  the  technique  of  good  reading.  The 
group  decided  that  in  order  to  read  well  one  must  have  a  clear 
mental  picture  of  what  is  read.  The  poem  of  Miles  Standish 
was  chosen.9  They  found  that  the  reading  voice  has  a  scale  and 
tone  color,  that  a  sentence  has  rhythmical  qualities,  and,  above 
all,  that  self-directed  breath  is  the  foundation  of  vocal  expres- 
sion. They  also  saw  that  physical  position  is  requisite  to  secure 
this  breathing.  At  the  close  of  the  course  each  child  asked  for 
a  poem  with  which  he  could  tell  his  own  story  his  own  way,  and 
special  voice  work  with  individual  children  was  undertaken. 

In  music,  these  children  began  a  study  of  harmony.  The 
formal  intellectual  work  went  on  harmoniously,  but  in  song 


»  Course  given  by  Minerva  Butlin. 


236  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

singing  and  song  writing,  the  boys  were  very  self-conscious.  The 
group  finally  succeeded  in  writing  a  two-part  song  which  they 
notated  upon  the  board  and  copied  upon  tablets,  but  which 
they  regarded  so  critically  and  with  so  little  satisfaction  that 
it  was  difficult  to  induce  them  to  sing  it  before  the  school  chorus, 
as  was  the  usual  custom.  The  tone  of  the  group  was  strained 
and  unsatisfactory  through  the  entire  quarter. 

The  group  studied  algebra  and  arithmetic,  emphasis  being 
laid  on  the  fact  that  algebra  is  only  generalized  arithmetic.10 
Laws  were  developed  and  formulated  by  the  children  as  they 
went  along.  Special  emphasis  was  laid  on  the  study  of  ratio 
and  proportion,  each  child  working  out  his  own  statement  of 
both.  The  number  work  was  used  extensively  in  the  shop  for 
the  working  drawings  of  the  club-house  or  in  estimating  ex- 
penses and  calculating  dues. 

Although  there  were  some  children  in  this  group  whose 
progress  in  the  traditional  school  studies  was  retarded,  on  the 
whole  their  school  experience  fully  demonstrated  that  the  more 
direct  modes  of  activity  present  plenty  of  opportunities  and 
occasions  for  the  necessary  use  of  reading,  writing,  spelling, 
and  number  work.  It  is  repeated  at  the  risk  of  tiresome  reitera- 
tion that  these  things  were  introduced,  not  as  isolated  studies, 
but  as  organic  outgrowths  of  the  child's  experience.  The  ad- 
ditional vitality  and  meaning  which  these  studies  thus  secured 
made  possible  a  considerable  reduction  of  the  time  usually 
given  to  them.  The  use  of  tool  subjects,  especially  by  the  older 
children,  whether  in  reading,  calculation,  or  composition,  was 
more  intelligent  and  less  mechanical,  more  active  and  less 
passively  receptive,  and  gave  more  evidence  of  increasing  power 
than  is  usual  with  children  of  thirteen. 


10  Course  taught  by  Clinton  S.  Osborn.  One  quarter  Anne  Moore  taught 
logarithms  and  angle  measurement,  as  they  were  needed  in  the  work  on 
focus. 


CHAPTER   XIII 

EXPERIMENTS     IN     SPECIALIZED 
ACTIVITIES 

GROUP  xi  (AGE  FOURTEEN  TO  FIFTEEN) 

AN  a  developing  experiment  such  as  that  of  the  school,  the 
work  of  the  oldest  children  is  of  necessity  highly  exploratory 
and  tentative  in  character.  Because  of  the  school's  early  demise 
also,  many  of  the  courses  for  this  age  were  repeated  but  once, 
or  at  the  most  twice.  An  account  of  them  is,  therefore,  only 
suggestive  of  a  way  in  which  the  interests  and  activities  of  the 
elementary  stage  may  be  guided  into  the  deviating  paths  of 
the  more  specialized  interests  and  subject-matter  of  the  second- 
ary period. 

Careful  study  of  the  school's  brief  and  very  condensed  records 
during  the  year  1901-1902  seems  to  indicate  that  in  this  year 
the  two  older  groups  were  united  into  one.  This  was  true  for 
at  least  certain  of  their  studies.  The  oldest  members  of  this 
united  group  (who  normally  would  have  been  classified  as 
Group  XII)  were  given  special  tutoring  and  review  courses 
in  preparation  for  their  college  board  examinations,  which 
were  complicating  the  program.  Had  the  group  consisted  solely 
of  those  who  had  followed  the  consecutively  developing  pro- 
gram of  the  school,  and  had  it  not  been  hampered  by  the  de- 
mands of  college  entrance  examinations,  the  various  courses 
for  the  oldest  children  doubtless  would  have  followed  a  far 
different  and  more  logical  plan,  hints  of  which  appear  in  the 
records.  Roman  history  would  have  been  studied  from  the 
point  of  view  of  the  political  state;  the  history  of  industry  and 
of  social  groupings  would  have  been  developed;  and  more  of 
the  specialized  sciences  gradually  would  have  found  their  places 


238  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  the  curriculum.  As  it  was,  the  theoretical  plan  for  the  oldest 
children  was  greatly  altered  by  circumstances.  There  was  also 
lack  of  space  and  of  proper  laboratories  and  equipment  for 
older  children.  Many  of  these  difficulties  were  swept  away  in 
the  following  year  when  the  Laboratory  School,  for  one  year, 
became  a  part  of  the  School  of  Education,  and  moved  into  its 
beautiful  new  building.  Records  of  the  work  of  that  year 
(1902-1903),  however,  were  not  available;  hence  the  history  of 
the  school  ends  with  the  records  of  Group  XL1 

THE  WORK   OF  THE  FALL  QUARTER 

For  two  years  the  course  in  general  science  for  these  children 
had  been  separated  into  its  physiographical  and  biological  as- 
pects. The  year  before  the  children  had  continued  the  study 
of  the  various  forms  of  energy  with  special  emphasis  on  light. 
This  course  had  included  a  fundamental  consideration  of  vari- 
ous theories  of  energy  and  had  been  in  the  nature  of  an  intro- 
duction to  the  technical  study  of  physics,  which  would  soon 
enter  the  program  of  those  preparing  for  college  entrance  ex- 
aminations. The  science  course3  planned  for  Group  XI  was 
a  continued  and  more  detailed  consideration  of  their  earlier 
study  of  existing  types  of  animal  life.  This  was  constantly  re- 
lated to  the  evolutionary  processes  touched  upon  in  the  geologi- 
cal study  of  North  America  the  preceding  year.  It  was  char- 
acterized by  more  laboratory  work  and  outdoor  excursions 
than  usually  mark  a  study  of  biology  in  the  secondary  period. 
The  aim  was  to  preserve  the  spirit  of  individual  investigation 
and  rediscovery  that  had  characterized  the  children's  scientific 
work  from  the  beginning. 

The  study  of  mathematics  also  became  more  highly  spe- 
cialized. The  work  in  algebra  included  involution,  evolution, 
the  theory  of  exponents,  and  operations  involving  radical 
quantities.  In  geometry,  each  member  of  the  group  worked  out, 
for  the  most  part  independently,  from  twenty  to  thirty  proposi- 
tions and  exercises  and  wrote  up  his  demonstrations  with  a 


1  Group  teacher,  Alice  C.  Dewey. 

2  Course  given  by  George  Garrey,  University  of  Chicago. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  239 

varying  degree  of  care.  In  addition  to  that  of  clarifying  the 
children's  fundamental  mathematical  ideas,  three  ulterior  pur- 
poses were  kept  in  view  by  the  teacher  of  this  course:  to  train 
each  individual  into  the  highest  degree  of  independence  and 
perseverance  in  attacking  new  and  difficult  work,  to  aid  him 
in  developing  a  clear  concept  of  what  constitutes  a  geometrical 
demonstration,  to  attain  clear,  definite,  and  concise  expression. 

THE   WORK   OF  THE  WINTER   QUARTER 

In  the  second  quarter  the  pupils  used  Will's  Essentials  of 
Geometry  as  the  basis  of  their  work  and  were  able  to  work 
more  rapidly  than  when  they  had  had  to  make  constructions 
as  well  as  work  out  demonstrations  from  dictated  exercises. 
The  propositions  of  Book  I  and  many  other  related  exercises 
were  covered—in  all  about  one  hundred.  In  order  to  have  time 
to  finish  the  desired  work  in  algebra,  geometry  was  dis- 
continued in  May  without  reviewing  the  work  done.  The 
remainder  of  the  quarter  was  spent  in  the  study  of  radical  equa- 
tions, quadratic  equations,  the  theory  of  quadratics,  and  prob- 
lems involving  quadratics.  Although  all  the  work  usually  pre- 
scribed for  college  entrance  was  taken  up,  only  a  few  of  the 
group  completed  the  course  in  a  satisfactory  way.  Some  of  them 
were  hampered  by  lack  of  a  ready  command  of  fundamental 
principles  and  processes.  Others  did  not  put  sufficient  time 
on  study  to  acquire  familiarity  with  and  ready  application  of 
the  principles.  The  work  of  three  was  highly  satisfactory,  but 
even  these  needed  a  month  of  review  before  taking  college 
examinations.  It  was  felt  that  other  members  of  the  group  would 
require  at  least  another  quarter's  work  on  the  important  and 
more  technical  parts  of  the  subject.3 

The  work  in  history  was  also  more  specialized  than  in  previ- 
ous years.  Six  years'  study  of  social  living  the  world  over,  as  well 


s  "It  is  possible  a  mistake  was  made  in  trying  to  carry  both  algebra  and 
geometry  together  during  this  year.  With  only  three  hours,  or  less,  of  class- 
room work  and  a  limited  amount  of  home  study,  some  of  the  group  failed 
to  keep  up  the  necessary  amount  of  momentum  to  carry  two  such  subjects 
satisfactorily."  Clinton  S.  Osborn,  teacher. 


s>4o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

as  that  of  their  own  present,  had  more  or  less  adequately  pre- 
pared these  children  to  appreciate  a  study  of  certain  thoroughly 
differentiated  and,  so  to  speak,  peculiar  types  of  social  life.  It 
was  hoped  that  on  the  basis  of  their  rather  thorough  knowledge 
of  both  the  principles  and  facts  of  social  life  they  would  be  able 
to  discover  for  themselves  the  special  significance  of  each  civili- 
zation and  the  particular  contribution  it  had  made  to  the 
world's  history.  The  plan,  therefore,  was  to  change  from  the 
psychological  approach  to  a  study  of  history  to  the  chronolgical, 
to  begin  with  the  ancient  world  around  the  Mediterranean  and 
come  down  again  through  the  European  story  to  the  peculiar 
and  differentiating  factors  of  American  history.  The  plan,  how- 
ever, was  tried  for  two  years  only,  and  the  records  of  the  work 
of  the  last  year  are  too  meagre  for  inferences  of  any  value  to 
be  drawn  as  to  its  ultimate  success.  In  history,  much  time  was 
also  given  to  making  up  the  lacks  in  the  consecutive  study  of 
history  required  by  college  entrance  examinations.4 

The  shop-work  of  this  group  for  the  quarter  was  not  up  to 
the  standard  of  that  of  Groups  VIII  or  IX.  The  pupils  chose 
their  own  work,  and  the  results  were  unsatisfactory.  Some 
showed  a  lack  of  ambition  to  undertake  any  worthy  object; 
some  were  ambitious  beyond  their  skill;  and  some  lacked  de- 
cision and  perseverance.  When  careful  work  was  required,  most 
of  the  group  worked  very  slowly.  The  boys  took  some  time  to 
complete  the  tool  drawers  in  their  benches,  did  some  repair 
work  about  the  school  and  finished  a  tripod  for  a  camera  and 
a  bread  board.  The  girls  completed  tool  boxes,  a  mail  box,  two 
or  three  book  racks,  a  window  seat,  an  oak  table,  an  oak  music 
rack,  and  other  smaller  articles.  The  whole-hearted  effort  and 
genuine  interest  of  other  years  seems  to  have  been  lacking. 
The  cooking  as  a  course  had  been  discontinued  with  Group  IX, 
but  on  occasions  when  distinguished  guests  were  present  at 
luncheon,  the  older  groups  were  called  in  to  plan,  prepare,  and 
serve  the  meal. 

The  work  in  languages,  French,  Latin,  and  English,  took  on 
a  specialized  character.  In  Latin,  before  beginning  Caesar's 

*  A  number  of  children  had  not  been  in  the  school  from  its  beginning 
and,  in  consequence,  had  not  had  all  of  its  history  courses. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  241 

Commentaries,  the  class  read  his  biography  from  Viri  Romae* 
In  translation,  emphasis  was  laid  on  syntax.  In  composition, 
the  aim  was  to  help  die  children  to  gain  a  free  use  of  Latin 
idioms  in  their  translation  of  English  into  Latin  and  in  their 
condensed  historical  reports.  Sight  reading  was  also  part  of  the 
program,  and  in  connection  with  work  on  the  Gallic  wars  a 
detailed  study  of  the  life  of  Caesar's  times  was  made,  of  its  out- 
standing men  and  the  social,  intellectual,  and  political  events 
of  the  period.  In  this  year  the  children  also  started  their  first 
formal  study  of  the  English  language,  and  English  was  chosen 
as  the  subject  for  special  emphasis  during  the  year.  Some  in- 
tensive work  was  done  on  Latin  derivatives.  The  points  em- 
phasized were:  (i)  consonant  and  vowel  changes;  (2)  suffixes 
and  prefixes,  their  value  and  changes;  (3)  groxvth  and  change 
in  the  meaning  of  derivatives.  Cooperation  with  the  French 
teacher  was  necessary  as  the  Latin  element  in  the  English  lan- 
guage, while  partly  derived  directly  from  Latin,  has,  in  the 
main,  come  through  French,  and  has  been  largely  modified  in 
the  process. 

The  first  piece  of  work  in  composition  6  was  a  theme  relating 
to  summer  experience.  The  children's  style  was  clear  and  fluent, 
but  inclined  to  be  loose  and  inaccurate  in  sentence  structure. 
Careful  criticism  brought  out  some  difficult  grammatical  points 
which  were  analyzed  and  discussed;  considerable  logical  power 
was  evidenced  in  attacking  these  grammatical  problems.  After 
this  preliminary  work,  the  reading  of  one  of  Shakespeare's  plays 
was  undertaken.  As  these  children  had  not  the  habit  of  reading 
aloud,  they  were  very  awkward.  They  had  never  read  a  play, 
with  the  exception  of  two  pupils.  They  knew  nothing  of 
Shakespeare,  nor  of  dramatic  history,  so  a  brief  sketch  of 
Shakespeare's  life  and  the  prominent  social  features  of  his 
time  was  made  from  books  which  the  children  read  them- 
selves. They  had  no  way  of  expressing  their  ideas  of  meter  and 
in  the  beginning  found  it  difficult  to  tell  when  they  omitted  a 
syllable  or  inserted  one  which  did  not  belong  in  the  phrase. 
As  their  attention  had  to  be  continually  interrupted  to  dis- 

«  Taught  by  Marion  Schibsby. 
«  Taught  by  Alice  C.  Bewey. 


24*  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

cover  errors  in  reading,  the  work  went  very  slowly  at  first.  They 
had  had  Roman  History  so  that  they  understood  the  story  of 
the  play.  They  committed  to  memory  some  couplets  and  short 
passages,  and  as  soon  as  the  study  of  the  first  act  was  com- 
pleted, they  prepared  an  abstract.  By  this  time  they  had  enough 
command  of  method  to  understand  the  character  of  work  ex- 
pected of  them,  and  their  interest  in  the  story  and  the  dramatic 
setting  was  thoroughly  aroused.  The  play  was  completed  by 
Christmas  time;  abstracts  of  each  act  were  written;  and  an  out- 
line  of  the  entire  play  given  by  every  pupil  in  the  class.  In  a 
general  way  they  understood  the  difference  between  the  Shake- 
spearean drama  and  preceding  English  drama.  They  were 
familiar  with  the  versification  so  far  as  its  use  went,  although 
no  technical  terms  were  given  to  them.  The  class  showed  par- 
ticular interest  in  the  character  study.  Two  members  carried 
on  a  two-day  debate  over  the  comparative  virtues  of  Brutus 
and  Cassius.  Each  member  of  the  class  had  weighed  all  the 
main  characters  and  could  give  an  opinion  on  their  virtues  or 
vices  and  the  relative  importance  of  the  part  each  had  in  the 
drama. 

This  study  cleared  the  way  for  a  return  to  a  study  of  the 
village  life  and  history  of  Shakespeare's  time.  Notes  were  made 
of  the  many  incidental  allusions  to  the  commercial  changes 
which  were  taking  place  in  England.  To  explain  these  allusions 
a  study  of  the  Tudor  family's  position  and  importance  in  history 
was  made  in  the  winter  quarter.  The  religious  attitude  of 
France,  Spain,  Italy,  and  the  Netherlands  was  also  discussed. 
Since  the  pupils  had  no  idea  of  the  reasons  why  this  period  was 
called  the  Renaissance  of  Learning,  biographies  of  the  great 
discoverers  in  science  were  read.  The  discovery  of  the  New 
World  and  its  commercial  importance  they  already  understood. 
They  studied  the  lives  of  Copernicus,  of  Sir  Thomas  More, 
Martin  Luther,  the  inventors  of  printing,  and  the  story  of  the 
rise  of  Protestantism  and  the  settlement  of  Ireland.  Working 
back  in  history  from  Shakespeare  and  Queen  Elizabeth  to  the 
Wars  of  the  Roses,  they  studied  Shakespeare's  King  Richard  HI, 
following  the  same  method  used  in  Julius  Caesar.  About  five 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  243 

or  six  weeks  were  spent  on  the  play.  The  class  was  much  shocked 
by  the  evil  portrayed,  and  interest  was  somewhat  depressed  by 
the  shock  to  their  feelings.  The  outlines  and  abstracts  o£  the 
acts  were  prepared,  and  a  very  good  idea  of  the  historical  setting 
was  gained.  The  class  was  somewhat  critical  of  the  play  and  in- 
clined to  compare  it  with  Julius  Caesar,  which  they  considered 
much  superior.  However,  in  the  end  they  were  all  impressed  by 
the  intellect  of  King  Richard,  as  well  as  horrified  by  his  wicked- 
ness. 

THE  WORK  OF  THE  SPRING  QUARTER 

In  the  spring  quarter  work  followed  quite  different  lines. 
It  consisted  of  a  critical  analysis  of  the  class  papers  prepared  in 
science.7  The  subjects  of  these  papers  were  volcanoes,  glaciers, 
and  other  physiographical  features.  The  first  task  was  to  pre- 
pare an  outline  of  what  they  themselves  were  to  write.  They 
had  no  idea  how  to  attack  this  and  in  the  first  attempt  were 
quite  as  likely  to  put  descriptions  into  their  outlines  as  to 
separate  the  headings  or  main  topics.  However,  as  the  subject- 
matter  had  been  given  them  in  logical  order  in  the  science  class, 
they  soon  grasped  the  idea  that  the  order  of  composition  was 
simply  the  logic  of  thought  or  subject-matter,  and  rapidly  gained 
power  to  prepare  clear  and  accurate  outlines.  The  only  details 
taken  up  were  those  of  grammar  and  sentence  structure.  The 
differentiation  between  English  and  Latin  caused  them  some 
difficulty.  In  the  former,  they  had  to  learn  to  depend  upon 
their  6wn  analysis  to  determine  the  relation  of  a  word  to  the 
sentence.  They  were  inclined  at  first  to  define  such  terms  as 
subject  and  object  in  too  restricted  a  way.  They  came  to  see 
that  where  no  endings  existed  to  place  the  word,  the  difficulty 
of  defining  its  use  was  increased.  The  main  points  in  sentence 
analysis,  they  soon  grasped.  Certain  forms  of  diagramming  sen- 
tences were  given,  but  these  were  not  used  for  more  than  two 
days,  although  the  class  showed  an  inclination  to  come  back 
to  them.  As  time  went  on,  they  improved  greatly  in  definiteness 


T  Taught  by  Wallace  Atwood. 


244  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  statement  and  in  ability  to  criticize  their  own  forms  of  ex- 
pression. Considerable  time  was  spent  throughout  the  entire 
year  in  studying  the  derivations  of  words  and  the  historical 
development  of  their  meanings.  At  the  beginning  of  the  year 
the  whole  class  was  satisfied  with  a  very  loose  explanation  of 
the  meaning  of  a  word,  but  after  the  year's  study  not  one  was 
satisfied  until  he  had  looked  it  up  in  the  Century  Dictionary. 
They  often  followed  a  word  to  its  roots  in  other  languages. 

Group  XI  also  carried  on  the  printing  of  a  daily  newspaper 
for  a  short  time,  as  did  other  groups.  This  did  much  to  interest 
the  children  in  language  expression.  On  account  of  the  pres- 
sure of  time,  inconvenient  quarters,  and  type  of  press,  the  work 
was  more  limited  than  it  might  have  been  under  more  flexible 
conditions.  At  one  time  the  press  was  of  great  service  in  print- 
ing the  reading  lessons  for  the  younger  children.  Developments 
in  later  progressive  schools  have  shown  that  carried  out  in  the 
same  way  in  which  other  occupations  in  the  school  were  pur- 
sued, printing  might  have  been  an  absorbing  interest  and  of 
great  educational  value. 

The  group  was  active  in  school  clubs  and  in  the  club-house 
project.  The  Educational  Club  was  under  the  special  guidance 
of  these  children.  It  started  out  with  fine  spirit  the  last  year  of 
the  school.  The  constitution  of  the  club  allowed  any  member 
of  the  school  to  become  a  member,  and  several  new  names  were 
voted  on.  A  committee  was  appointed  to  attend  to  the  finances 
of  the  club-house  and  to  confer  with  an  adviser  to  consider  the 
best  method  of  raising  the  money  for  it.  A  pew  president",  secre- 
tary, and  treasurer  were  elected.  The  club  then  voted  to  take 
charge  of  the  Friday  afternoon  exercises  of  the  school.  A  com- 
mittee of  three  members  was  appointed  for  this  purpose.  The 
children  voted  to  have  a  general  adviser,  and  a  teacher  was  ap- 
pointed. At  a  special  meeting  the  Monday  before  Thanksgiving, 
the  club  decided  to  raise  the  dues  of  dub  members  to  twenty- 
five  cents  a  month  until  the  house  was  paid  for.  They  also 
formed  an  athletic  department,  and  the  president  appointed 
a  committee  of  three  to  decide  definitely  on  the  work  of  this 
department. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  245 

DEVELOPMENT  OF  EXPRESSION  THROUGH  THE  WEEKLY  ASSEMBLY 

The  weekly  general  assembly  of  the  older  children  on  Friday 
afternoon  of  each  week  was  always  a  social  occasion  and  was 
usually  directed  by  the  older  groups.  In  the  beginning,  one  of 
the  girls  read  a  story  of  her  own  composition.  The  children 
were  then  asked  to  bring  in  suggestions  for  programs.  One 
offered  to  have  a  friend  come  and  play  the  piano.  A  girl  of- 
fered the  play  that  she  had  been  writing,  volunteering  to  select 
the  actors  and  actresses  and  drill  them  in  it.  They  all  voted  to 
ask  Professor  Judson  of  the  University  to  come  to  talk  about  the 
trouble  in  China,  requesting  that  they  be  allowed  to  ask  all  the 
questions  they  wished.  Extracts  from  the  records  of  some  of 
these  assemblies  follow: 

At  the  general  exercises  held  on  the  Wednesday  afternoon  before 
Thanksgiving,  the  children  sang  their  songs  of  last  year.  Professor 
MacClintock  read  a  Thanksgiving  story— Whittier's  The  Pumpkin. 
On  another  occasion,  papers  written  by  the  children  of  the  various 
groups  on  their  class  work  were  read.  One  read  a  long  account  of 
the  conquest  of  Peru,  another,  an  account  of  a  series  of  experiments 
carried  on  in  science  during  the  fall. 

One  week  Mr.  F —  gave  a  very  informal  talk  to  the  children  about 
his  experiences  in  Cuba  during  the  late  war.  The  children  were  so 
much  interested  that  they  stayed  half  an  hour  afterwards  asking 
questions.  In  February  Mr.  Jenkin  Lloyd  Jones  was  invited  to  talk 
on  the  subject  of  Lincoln.  He  accepted  the  invitation  and  entertained 
them  for  half  an  hour  with  stories  illustrating  Lincoln's  character- 
istics. 

At  the  next  meeting  the  children  celebrated  Washington's  birth- 
day, Group  IX  prepared  the  program,  in  which  each  child  had  a  part. 
One  played  the  boyhood  of  Washington;  another,  his  school-days; 
another,  his  part  in  the  French  and  Indian  War;  Washington  in  the 
Revolution;  Washington  as  president;  and  Washington  at  home.  One 
girl  said  that  she  knew  several  stories  of  Washington  which  did  not 
come  under  any  of  these  heads,  so  she  wrote  and  read  a  paper  on 
"Incidents  in  the  life  of  Washington."  On  this  occasion  they  worked 
together  as  a  class  better  than  ever  before.  Another  afternoon 
Miss  Harmer  talked  to  the  children  on  the  Horace  Mann  School, 
and  they  asked  many  questions  and  seemed  interested  in  the  subject. 
At  the  next  assembly  Dr.  Coulter  gave  a  description  of  his  trip  to- 
the  Yellowstone  Park  in  1870  when  he  went  out  with  an  expedition 


246  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

appointed  by  the  government  to  explore  the  Wyoming  geysers.  On 
one  occasion  when  a  speaker  failed  to  come,  the  children  had  an 
old-fashioned  spelling  contest,  Groups  IX  and  X  doing  themselves 
credit.  On  another,  to  which  friends  were  invited,  the  program  con- 
sisted of  a  German  play,  the  composition  of  which  had  formed  the 
basis  of  Group  Vlll-fc's  work  for  the  winter  quarter;  in  addition  there 
were  songs  and  English  and  French  recitations. 

In  the  later  years  of  the  school  the  debating  society  became 
very  active  and  frequently  took  charge  of  the  assembly  program. 
It  was  noticeable  that  a  child  speaking  to  children  always  got 
rapt  attention,  and  judgment  of  points  in  a  debate  grew  to  be 
very  discerning.  All  these  weekly  assemblies  were  productive 
of  good  results,  but  a  great  handicap  was  the  lack  of  an  audi- 
torium and  any  stage  facilities. 

The  boys  and  girls  of  Group  XI  were  divided  for  their  music 
periods.  The  latter  sang  well  and  with  much  enthusiasm.  Sight 
singing  was  emphasized,  and  they  learned  Schumann's  "The 
Wanderer/'  Schubert's  "Haiden  Roslein"  (in  German)  by  note 
and  spent  a  large  portion  of  their  time  in  writing  a  long  two- 
part  song  which  they  notated  on  the  board  and  copied.  The 
boys  of  the  group,  having  completed  the  work  on  key  and  time 
signatures,  were  told  that  unless  they  wished  to  sing,  there  was 
nothing  further  to  do,  for  them,  in  music.8  They  responded  to 
this  by  suggesting  that  they  write  a  song  and  chose  as  a  topic 
"La  Journee"  such  as  they  had  seen  described  in  their  recent 
study  of  Ivanhoe  in  a  literature  course.9  The  words  finished, 
they  were  at  a  loss  for  the  music,  and  finally  decided  that  the 
teacher  had  better  write  it.  Accordingly,  she  put  a  phrase  of 
music  on  the  board  which  they  proceeded  to  change  by  telling 
on  what  line  or  space  each  note  should  be  placed.  They  then 
listened  to  and  criticized  the  result.  In  this  manner  the  song 
was  completed.  The  three  older  groups  were  allowed  to  learn 
it  They  were  then  to  invite  the  composers  to  chorus  practice 
and  sing  it  for  them.  The  latter,  however,  were  not  pleased 
with  the  result,  saying  the  voices  were  too  high  to  do  justice 
to  the  song,  and  finally  decided  to  learn  to  sing  it  themselves. 


s  May  Root  Kern,  teacher. 
»  Mrs.  Lander  P.  MacClintock. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  247 

This  they  did  and,  finding  they  could,  continued  to  sing  for 
the  rest  of  the  quarter. 

The  work  in  the  art  studio  centered  around  the  furnishing 
and  decorating  of  the  now  competed  club-house.  All  the  groups 
o£  the  school  had  been  drawn  into  interested  participation  in 
the  final  touches  on  the  cherished  project,  but  the  older  groups 
designed  and  made  most  of  the  furniture,  hangings,  and  rugs. 
At  various  times  the  center  of  activity  shifted  from  the  studio  to 
the  science  laboratory  for  experimentation  on  vegetable  dyes 
(aniline  dyes  were  viewed  with  scorn)  or  for  the  right  mixture 
of  stain  for  the  woodwork;  again  the  carpentry  shop  was  sought 
out  for  some  necessary  construction  of  wood  or  metal;  or  it  was 
back  to  the  textile  studio  for  sewing  and  embroidery  of  the 
curtains,  or  weaving  the  rugs  already  planned  and  designed. 
Through  all  these  activities  ran  the  artistic  motive— a  genuine 
longing  that  the  house  and  all  that  was  to  be  put  therein  should 
be  beautiful  and  appropriate.  Interest  and  effort  harnessed  as  a 
team,  driven  by  genuine  desire  that  sprang  from  genuine  need, 
accomplished  results  of  real  quality.  Although  skilled  guidance 
was  at  hand  and  irremediable  errors  were  not  permitted,  the 
children  had  great  freedom  in  directing  their  project.  Naturally 
many  mistakes  were  made,  some  of  which  took  much  time  and 
hard  labor  to  correct,  but  which  taught  much  otherwise  never 
learned.  The  groups  primarily  responsible  for  the  project  had 
organized  themselves  into  various  executive  committees.  The 
committee  on  house  decoration  decided  in  favor  of  a  dark 
stain  (then  in  vogue)  for  the  woodwork  of  the  house  and,  in 
spite  of  the  advice  of  those  guiding  the  work,  carried  their  idea 
through.  They  were  much  criticized  by  the  rest  for  the  gloomy 
effect  of  their  choice,  a  criticism  some  of  them  recall  to  this 
day. 

SUMMARY 

The  little  house  when  finished  represented  the  best  thought 
and  genuine  interest  as  well  as  labor  of  many  children,  and  it 
grew  out  of  genuine  need.  Its  construction  and  decoration  had 
been  guided  by  skilled  persons,  interested  in  helping  the  chil- 
dren to  conceive  and  achieve  their  ideals,  and  in  the  process  to 


248  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

learn  to  judge  and  critically  evaluate  their  own  results.  With 
these  older  children,  as  with  all  the  groups  in  the  school,  the 
motives  for  art  expressions  sprang  out  of  other  activities  and 
thus  held  vital  relations  for  the  children.  The  ideal  of  the 
school  was  that  skill  in  the  technique  of  artistic  expression 
should  keep  pace  with  the  children's  intellectual  concepts  of 
the  way  they  wished  to  refine,  adorn,  or  represent  in  line,  color, 
or  day  the  thing  they  were  making.  This  was  an  ideal  difficult 
to  attain  and  more  often  than  not  failed  of  achievement.  That 
it  was  achieved,  in  a  measure,  in  art,  in  music,  and  to  a  still 
more  limited  degree  in  drama  was  a  real  achievement  for  those 
in  charge.  These  were  pioneer  days,  and  previous  attempts  to 
cultivate  artistic  quality  of  expression  from  the  kindergarten 
to  the  studio  were  quite  unknown.  Since  these  early  days  great 
progress  has  been  made  in  the  teaching  of  the  musical  and  those 
representative  activities  usually  called  the  fine  arts.  There  is 
great  value  in  this  type  of  activity  for  securing  freedom  of  ex- 
pression and  joyous  creative  effort.  For  the  child  this  is  what 
might  be  called  consummatory  experience. 

In  justice  it  should  be  said  that  at  all  times  the  experiment 
was  much  hampered  by  its  limited  quarters  and  equipment.  Be- 
cause of  the  lack  of  library  and  laboratory  facilities  especially, 
many  of  the  things  done  with  the  three  older  groups  were  second 
choices  as  to  subject-matter.  The  very  nature  of  the  school  also 
made  it  necessary  for  the  children  to  concentrate  under  difficult 
conditions  of  noise  and  interruption.  This  was  not  conducive 
to  the  development  of  the  habit  of  consecutive  study  necessary 
to  the  best  expression  of  individual  thought  in  language  or  in 
any  other  medium.  Lack  of  a  library,  lack  of  quiet,  lack  of 
beauty,  lack  of  adequate  space  for  club  meetings,  all  made  it 
impossible  to  carry  out  many  individual  and  group  plans. 
As  was  stated  at  the  time,10  "It  was  never  practically  possible 
to  act  adequately  upon  the  best  ideas  obtained,  because  of 
administrative  difficulties,  due  to  lack  of  funds,  difficulties  cen- 
tering in  the  lack  of  a  proper  building  and  appliances  and  in 
inability  to  pay  the  amounts  necessary  to  secure  the  complete 

10  John  Dewey,  "Psychology  of  the  Elementary  Curriculum,"  Elementary 
School  Record,  Vol.  i,  No.  9. 


SPECIALIZED  ACTIVITIES  249 

time  of  teachers  in  some  important  lines.  Indeed,  with  the 
growth  of  the  school  in  numbers  and  in  the  age  and  maturity 
of  the  pupils,  it  was  always  a  grave  question  how  long  it  was 
fair  to  the  experiment  to  carry  it  on  without  more  adequate 
facilities/* 

Although  the  school  had  a  number  of  children  who  were 
finishing  the  third  stage  of  growth  of  the  elementary  period, 
it  was  not  in  existence  long  enough  so  that  many  typical  in- 
ferences as  to  results  for  this  period  could  be  safely  drawn.  There 
did  seem  reason  to  hope,  however,  that  with  the  consciousness 
of  difficulties,  needs,  and  resources  gained  in  the  experience 
of  five  years,  children  can  be  brought  to  and  through  this 
period  not  only  without  sacrifice  of  thoroughness,  mental  dis- 
cipline, and  command  of  the  technical  tools  of  learning,  but 
also  with  a  positive  enlargement  of  life,  and  a  wider,  freer, 
and  more  open  outlook  upon  it. 

At  least  it  can  be  said  that  at  fourteen  these  children  had  the 
background  of  an  unusually  wide  first-hand  experience  upon 
which  to  base  their  more  technical  study,  not  only  of  artistic 
forms  and  appreciations,  but  of  all  forms  of  knowledge,  whether 
scientific  or  practical,  that  had  come  within  the  range  of  their 
activities.  Where  these  experiences  had  taken  root  in  the  good 
soil  of  native  aptitudes,  tendrils  of  intellectual  and  spiritual  ap- 
preciations of  beauty  of  color,  line,  and  form,  of  harmony  and 
rhythm,  of  ethical,  social,  and  moral  values  and  responsibilities 
were  reaching  out,  searching  for  the  light  of  broader  oppor- 
tunities. They  represented  permanently  rooted  motives  and 
vocational  interests  which,  given  a  chance,  would  grow  into 
continuing  purposes  and  well-planned  social  action.  This  was 
by  no  means  true  of  all  the  children  who  had  come  through  the 
processes  of  the  school.  It  possibly  was  true  only  of  a  very  few, 
but  it  is  not  too  much  to  hold  that  what  was  accomplished  gave 
those  who  had  eyes  to  see  and  ears  to  hear  faith  to  believe 
that  here  lay  the  way  of  an  education  that  was  also  the  way  of 
developing  life. 


CHAPTER    XIV 

PRINCIPLES     OF     GROWTH     GUIDING 
SELECTION     OF     ACTIVITIES 


L 


the  school,  education  was  recognized  as  a  maturing  proc- 
ess, in  which  the  young  child  grows  in  body  and  mind  and  in 
ability  to  handle  himself  in  his  physical  environment  and  in 
his  social  relationships.  The  conditions  for  healthy  bodily 
growth  had  long  been  recognized,  but  the  idea  that  power  to 
think  depends  upon  the  healthy  growth  and  proper  function- 
ing of  the  mechanism  of  thought  and  its  expression  was,  at 
that  time,  quite  new.  The  bearing  upon  education  of  psycho- 
logical science  as  a  study  of  this  mechanism,  and  of  the  condi- 
tions that  minister  to  and  promote  its  normal  development  in 
mental  power  and  intelligent  action  was  still  for  the  most  part 
unrecognized. 

Two  psychological  assumptions  of  the  school's  hypothesis, 
basic  to  its  theory  and  controlling  its  practices,  were  radically 
different  from  those  that  underlay  the  prevalent  educational 
theory  and  practice.  The  first  of  these  recognized  a  psychologi- 
cal and  biological  distinction  between  the  child  and  the  adult, 
as  a  result  of  which  it  is  neither  physiologically  nor  mentally 
possible  to  describe  children  as  "little  men  and  women."  The 
adult  is  a  person  with  a  calling  and  position  in  life.  These  place 
upon  him  specific  responsibilities  which  he  must  meet.  They  call 
into  play  formed  habits.  The  child's  primary  calling  is  growth. 
He  is  forming  habits  as  well  as  using  those  already  formed.  He  is, 
therefore,  absorbed  in  making  contacts  with  persons  and  things 
and  in  getting  that  range  of  acquaintance  with  the  physical  and 
ideal  factors  of  life  which  should  be  the  background  and  afford 
the  material  for  the  specialized  activities  of  later  life.  Recogni- 

250 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  251 

tion  of  this  difference,  therefore,  conditioned  the  selection  and 
arrangement  of  all  school  materials  and  methods  in  order  to 
facilitate  full  normal  growth.  It  also  required  faith  in  the  re- 
sults of  growth  to  provide  the  power  and  ability  for  later  spe- 
cialization. 

The  second  assumption  was  that  the  conditions  which  make 
for  mental  and  moral  progress  are  the  same  for  the  child  as  for 
the  adult.  For  one,  as  for  the  other,  power  and  control  are 
obtained  through  realizing  personal  ends  and  problems,  through 
personal  choosing  of  suitable  ways  and  means,  and  through 
adapting,  applying  and  thereby  testing  what  is  selected  in  ex- 
perimental and  socially  acceptable  action. 

ACTIVITIES  OF   THE  CURRICULUM 

The  studies  in  the  curriculum,  the  physical  and  social  set- 
up of  the  school  building  and  classrooms,  the  type  of  equip- 
ment, and  the  method  of  instruction  all  had  to  be  chosen  with 
the  idea  of  die  growing  child  in  mind.  His  changing  interests 
and  needs  and  his  ideally  increasing  power  to  act,  to  initiate, 
to  judge,  and  to  accept  responsibility  for  the  consequences  of 
his  action  had  to  be  considered.  In  selecting  studies,  it  was  ac- 
cepted that  a  child's  present  living  contains  within  itself  ele- 
ments, facts,  and  truths  of  the  same  sort  as  those  that  enter  into 
the  various  formulated  studies  such  as  geography  or  other 
sciences.  To  constantly  develop  the  possibilities  inherent  in  the 
child's  immediate  crude  experience  was  an  important  problem 
of  the  curriculum.  It  was  also  recognized  as  more  important, 
that  the  attitudes,  motives,  and  interests  of  the  growing  child 
are  identical  with  those  that  operate  in  developing  and  organiz- 
ing the  subject-matter  of  these  studies.  In  other  words,  spe- 
cialized studies  were  thought  of  as  outgrowths  of  present 
forces  that  are  operating  in  the  child's  life.  The  problem  of 
instruction  was  to  help  the  child  discover  for  himself  the  steps 
that  intervene  between  his  present  experience  and  these  or- 
ganized and  classified  bodies  of  facts  known  as  chemistry, 
physics,  history,  geography,  etc.  Subject-matter  was  not  thought 
of  as  something  fixed  and  ready-made  in  itself,  outside  the 


252  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

child's  experience;  nor  was  the  child's  experience  thought  of 
as  hard  and  fast,  but  as  something  fluent,  embryonic,  vital. 

1  "The  child  and  the  curriculum  are  simply  two  limits  which 
define  a  single  process.  Just  as  two  points  define  a  straight  line, 
so  the  present  standpoint  of  the  child  and  the  facts  and  truths 
of  studies  define  instruction.  It  is  a  continuous  reconstruction, 
moving  from  the  child's  present  experience  out  into  that  repre- 
sented by  the  organized  bodies  of  truth  that  we  call  studies. 

"On  the  face  of  it,  the  various  studies,  arithmetic,  geography, 
language,  botany,  etc.,  are  themselves  experience— they  are  that 
of  the  race.  They  embody  the  cumulative  outcome  of  the 
efforts,  the  strivings,  and  the  successes  of  the  human  race,  genera- 
tion after  generation.  They  present  this,  not  as  a  mere  accumu- 
lation, not  as  a  miscellaneous  heap  of  separate  bits  of  experi- 
ence, but  in  some  organized  and  systematic  way— that  is,  as 
reflectively  formulated. 

"Hence,  the  facts  and  truths  that  enter  into  the  child's  pres- 
ent experience  and  those  contained  in  the  subject-matter  of 
studies  are  the  initial  and  final  terms  of  one  reality." 

Specialized  studies  are  the  systematized  and  defined  experi- 
ence of  the  adult  mind.  While  not  parts  of  the  immediate  life 
of  the  child,  they  define  and  direct  the  movement  of  his  activi- 
ties. They  are  far-away  objectives,  but  are,  nevertheless,  of 
great  importance,  for  they  supply  the  guiding  method  in  deal- 
ing with  the  present.  As  part  of  the  experience  of  the  adult  mind 
of  the  teacher,  they  are  of  indispensable  value  in  interpreting 
the  child's  present  life  and  in  guiding  or  directing  his  activi- 
ties. Interpretation  of  the  present  in  terms  of  the  past  for  use 
in  future  activities,  and  guidance  in  the  performance  of  these 
activities  are  the  two  essential  elements  in  the  instruction 
process. 

2  "To  interpret  a  fact  is  to  see  it  in  its  vital  movement,  to  see 
it  in  its  relation  to  growth.  But  to  view  it  as  a  part  of  a  normal 
growth  is  to  secure  the  basis  for  guiding  it.  Guidance  is  not  ex- 

ijohn  Dewey,  The  Child  and  the  Curriculum  (Chicago,  University  of 
Chicago  Press,  1902). 
2  Op.  cit. 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  253 

ternal  imposition.  It  is  freeing  the  life-process  for  its  own  most 
adequate  fulfilment" 

STAGES   OF  GROWTH 

It  was  necessary  to  keep  in  mind  that  the  various  stages  of  a 
child's  growth  are  transitional,  blend  into  one  another,  and 
over  lap.  His  present  experience  is  but  an  index  of  certain 
growth-tendencies.  It  cannot  be  isolated  from  his  developing 
experience.  His  development  is  a  definite  process  having  its 
own  law  which  can  be  fulfilled  only  when  adequate  and  normal 
conditions  are  provided. 

The  teacher's  part  in  this  coming-to-maturity  process  is  that 
of  interpreter  and  guide  as  the  child  reenacts,  rediscovers,  and 
reconstructs  his  experience  from  day  to  day.  The  teacher  sets 
the  stage  for  the  moving  drama  of  the  child's  life,  supplies  the 
necessary  properties  when  needed,  and  directs  the  action  both 
toward  the  immediate  goal  of  the  child  and  also  toward  the 
direction  of  that  far-away  end  which  is  clear  in  her  mind,  but 
as  yet  unseen  by  the  child. 

It  was  essential  that  the  activties  selected  for  a  school  life 
providing  this  sort  of  growing  experience  should  be,  first  of  all, 
basic;  that  is,  those  that  provide  for  fundamental  needs  such 
as  food,  clothing,  or  shelter.  Such  activities  are  genuine  and 
timeless.  Their  reality  excites  the  interest  of  the  child  and  en- 
lists his  effort,  for  they  are  what  his  elders  do,  have  done,  and 
must  continue  to  do. 

In  the  second  place  especially  for  young  children  these  ac- 
tivities should  be  simple.  The  early  modes  of  occupations  and 
industries  when  primitive  tools  and  machines  were  used  such 
as  the  child  can  rediscover,  reinvent,  and  reconstruct  or  the 
present  small,  general  farm  furnish  activities  that  are  both 
interesting  to  the  child  and  within  his  constructive  powers. 
They  also  introduce  the  child  to  raw  materials  which  must  be 
made  over  by  him  into  the  finished  product  of  his  imagination. 
Fear  of  raw  material  has  been  a  great  handicap  of  the  educa- 
tional past,  in  the  laboratory,  in  the  manual  training  shop,  the 
Montessori  House  of  Childhood,  the  Froebelian  Kindergarten. 


254  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  demand  has  been  for  ready-made  toys  and  materials,  which 
other  minds  and  hands  or  machines  have  produced.  This  is 
true  in  academic  book-learning  as  well  as  in  the  subject-matter 
of  active  occupations.  It  is  true  that  such  material  will  control 
the  child's  operations  so  as  to  prevent  mistakes,  but  the  idea 
that  a  child  using  such  materials  will  somehow  achieve  without 
effort  the  intelligence  that  originally  shaped  or  stated  this  ma- 
terial is  false. 

Furthermore,  these  activities  are  not  merely  things  a  child 
is  interested  in  doing;  they  typify  social  situations  and  involve 
the  relationships  which  he  can  feel  and  understand.  A  child 
can  no  more  enter  into  or  understand  the  present  social  organi- 
zation without  experiencing  the  simpler  stages  of  living  than 
he  can  appreciate  a  musical  symphony  without  having  shared 
in  the  simpler  forms  of  music.  Man's  fundamental  common  con- 
cerns center  about  food,  clothing,  and  shelter,  household  fur- 
nishings and  the  appliances  connected  with  production,  ex- 
change and  consumption.  They  represent  both  the  necessities 
of  life  and  the -adornments  and  luxuries  with  which  necessities 
have  been  amplified.  They  tap  instincts  at  deep  levels.  They 
are  full  of  facts  and  principles  having  scientific,  social,  i.  e., 
moral  qualities  and  implications.  Gardening,  weaving,  con- 
struction in  wood,  manipulation  of  metals,  cooking,  etc.,  have 
much  more  than  a  bread-and-butter  value,  and  it  is  for  educa- 
tion to  reveal  their  scientific  implication  and  social  worth.  Gar- 
dening gives  an  approach  to  knowledge  of  the  place  farming 
and  horticulture  have  had  in  the  history  of  the  race  and  which 
they  occupy  in  the  present  social  organization.  Scientifically 
controlled  gardening  thus  becomes  the  means  for  studying  facts 
of  growth,  chemistry  of  soil,  r61e  of  light,  air,  and  moisture,  etc., 
or  elementary  botany.  These  facts  are  thus  seen  as  a  part  of 
life  and  have  intimate  correlations  with  facts  about  soil,  animal, 
and  human  life.  As  the  child  matures  he  himself  discovers  prob- 
lems of  interest  which  he  will  want  to  pursue  and  thus  pass 
over  into  more  and  more  adult  intellectual  investigations. 

When  the  subject-matter  of  the  elementary  curriculum  is 
made  up  of  these  play  and  work  activities,  a  child  becomes 
familiar,  during  his  formative  period,  with  many  aspects  of 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  255 

knowledge  in  relation  to  living.  With  increasing  maturity  he 
sees  how  the  sciences  gradually  grow  out  from  useful  occupa- 
tions, physics  out  of  the  use  of  tools  and  machines,  chemistry 
out  of  processes  of  dyeing,  cooking,  metal  smelting,  etc.  Mathe- 
matics is  now  a  highly  abstract  science.  Geometry,  however, 
means  literally  earth-measuring.  The  use  of  number  to  keep 
track  of  things  is  far  more  important  to-day  than  when  it  was 
invented. 

8  "The  most  direct  road  for  elementary  students  into  civics 
and  economics  is  found  in  the  consideration  of  the  place  and 
office  of  industrial  occupations  in  social  life." 

Furthermore,  social  occupations  of  this  fundamental  type 
enable  the  child  to  discover  and  become  skilled  in  the  use  of 
the  scientific  method.  They  lead  his  thought  and  experimental 
action  farther  and  farther  afield.  Concrete  experiences  in  living 
and  discovering  as  he  lives,  multiply.  Horizons  lift.  Possibilities 
beckon.  Skills  improve.  Knowledge  put  to  use  becomes  wis- 
dom, the  woof  of  the  web  of  living.  What  has  proved  helpful  in 
a  number  of  situations  is  drawn  off  (abstracted)  and  used  in 
others.  Abstraction  thus  becomes  an  instrument  for  intelligent 
action  by  which  useful  knowledge  is  fed  into  experience.  Facts 
of  knowledge  are  enlarged  in  significance,  are  seen  in  their 
human  as  well  as  their  physical,  technical  or  economic  aspects. 
Little  by  little  the  social  becomes  identified  with  the  moral  in- 
terest. 

This  sort  of  growing  experience  was  possibly  best  illustrated, 
in  the  school,  in  those  groups  of  children  who  followed  from 
the  beginning  the  steadily  developing  course  in  cooking  which 
was  part  of  the  program  of  all  the  elementary  years.  Year  after 
year,  as  they  cooked  their  luncheons,  they  tested  their  foods- 
cereals,  vegetables,  meats— for  the  presence  of  starch,  proteins, 
fats,  and  other  constituents.  At  the  end  of  this  continued  course, 
in  making  a  summary  of  these  years  of  experimenting,  great 
was  the  children's  delight  to  find  that  they  themselves  could 
classify  all  foods  ("a  great  number")  into  three  great  classes, 
in  accord  with  the  presence  or  absence  in  varying  degree  of 

sjohn  Dewey,  Democracy  and  Education  (New  York,  The  Maonillan 
Co.,  1916),  p.  336. 


256  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

carbohydrates,  protein,  and  fat.  Without  knowing  it,  by  suc- 
cessive, carefully  interpreted,  and  guided  steps,  they  had  come 
to  a  realization  that  their  kitchen  was  a  laboratory,  and  that  a 
certain  phase  of  their  cooking  was  a  study  of  the  chemistry  of 
food.  Thus  appreciation  grew  of  the  efforts  of  the  past  which 
had  given  them  a  heritage  of  finesse  in  the  science  and  art  of 
cooking. 

TYPES  OF  SUBJECT-MATTER 

In  an  article,  "The  Place  of  Manual  Training  in  the  Ele- 
mentary Course  of  Study,"  Mr.  Dewey  summarized  six  years' 
experimentation  with  the  school  program  and  these  types  and 
groupings  of  subject-matter.  He  placed  the  studies  under  three 
heads,  finding  this  arrangement  both  clarifying  and  of  some 
philosophic  value.  In  the  first  group  are  those  which  are  not 
so  much  studies  as  active  pursuits  or  occupations,  modes  of  ac- 
tivity, play  and  work,  which  appeal  to  the  child  for  their  own 
sake  and  yet  lend  themselves  to  educative  ends.  This  sort  of 
play  and  work  gives  the  pupil  command  of  a  method  of  in- 
quiry and  experimental  action,  leads  to  inventive  and  creative 
effort  and  gradually  to  an  understanding  of  the  abstract  sci- 
ences. In  the  second  group  is  the  subject-matter  which  gives 
the  background  of  social  life,  including  history  and  geography, 
history  as  the  record  of  what  has  made  the  present  forms  of  as- 
sociated life  what  they  are,  geography  as  the  statement  of  the 
physical  conditions  and  theatre  of  man's  social  activities.  In  the 
third  group  are  the  studies  which  give  the  pupil  command  of 
the  forms  and  methods  of  intellectual  communication  and  in- 
quiry, understanding  inquiry  to  include  science  as  the  organ 
of  social  progress.  Such  studies  as  reading,  grammar,  and  the 
more  technical  modes  of  arithmetic  are  the  instrumentalities 
which  the  race  has  worked  out  as  best  adapted  to  further  dis- 
tinctively intellectual  interests.  The  child's  need  of  command 
of  these,  so  that,  using  them  freely  for  himself,  he  can  ap- 
propriate the  intellectual  products  of  civilization,  is  so  obvious 
that  they  constitute  the  bulk  of  the  traditional  curriculum.  Mr. 
Dewey  points  out  that  in  the  more  advanced  stages  of  educa- 
tion it  may  be  desirable  to  specialize  these  subjects  in  such  a 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  257 

way  that  they  lose  this  direct  relationship  to  social  life,  but  in 
elementary  education  he  finds  that  they  are  valuable  just  in 
the  degree  in  which  they  are  treated  as  furnishing  the  social 
setting  or  background  of  life. 

*  "Along  the  lines  of  these  three  groups  there  is  a  movement 
away  from  direct  personal  and  social  interest  to  its  indirect  and 
remote  forms.  The  first  group  represents  to  the  child  the  same 
sort  of  activities  that  occupy  him  directly  in  his  daily  life,  and 
with  which  he  is  thoroughly  familiar.  The  second  group  is  still 
social,  but  gives  the  background  rather  than  the  direct  reality 
of  associated  life.  The  third  group— such  studies  as  reading  and 
grammar  and  the  various  forms  of  arithmetic— is  also  social, 
not  in  itself  or  in  any  of  its  immediate  suggestions  and  associa- 
tions, but  because  of  its  ultimate  motives  and  effects.  The  pur- 
pose of  these  latter  is  to  maintain  the  continuity  of  civiliza- 
tion." 

FIRST  GROUP   OF  ACTIVE  PURSUITS 

In  the  school,  the  studies  of  the  first  group  included  all  plays 
and  games,  the  forms  of  bodily  exercise  usually  classified  as 
physical  culture,  and  the  various  kinds  of  manual  training  or 
constructive  work.  There  were  also  a  variety  of  school  resources 
not  usually  included  under  this  head,  such  as  the  out-of-door 
excursions,  and  much  of  the  more  active  observational  and  ex- 
perimental work  in  nature  study.  In  the  latter,  it  was  not  so 
much  the  objective  facts,  much  less  the  scientific  laws,  that  con- 
cerned the  child,  as  it  was  the  direct  manipulation  of  materials 
and  the  application  of  simple  forms  of  energy  to  produce  in- 
teresting results.  Wide  use  was  made  of  the  various  kinds  of 
activities  belonging  to  this  first  group  of  studies  with  children 
of  all  ages.  It  was  recognized  that  physical  activity,  the  use  of 
the  bodily  organs,  is  a  large  part  of  whatever  interests  and 
absorbs  a  child. 

A  sound  body  is  a  first  concern  for  normal,  wholesome  growth* 
Consequently,  the  play  and  physical  culture  program  of  the 
school  was  the  result  of  much  thought  and  careful  planning. 

*  John  Dewey,  "The  Place  of  Manual  Training  in  the  Elementary  Course 
of  Study,"  Manual  Training  Magazine,  Vol.  II,  No.  4  (July,  1901). 


258  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

Even  with  the  older  children,  because  of  the  active  life  carried 
on  at  all  times,  the  gymnasium  was  not  thought  of  as  a  place 
to  exercise;  it  was,  rather,  a  place  to  play  in  when  the  weather 
did  not  permit  play  outdoors.  It  was  also  the  place  to  deal  with 
the  particular  weaknesses  of  children,  either  as  groups  or  as 
individuals.  A  teacher  of  physical  culture  in  charge  of  the  work 
for  a  time  describes  the  work  with  the  various  groups:  5 

The  work  with  the  young  children  (Groups  I,  II,  III,  ages  4-6) 
was  confined  chiefly  to  marching  steps,  when  posture  and  rhythm 
were  emphasized.  Games  came  next,  in  which  running  played  a  large 
part.  These  served  to  develop  the  child's  ability  to  coordinate  and 
control  himself,  and  prepare  him  for  more  difficult  games  requiring 
alertness,  dexterity  and  strength.  ...  It  was  some  time  before  they 
learned  how  to  play—how  to  follow  rules  and  regulations  and  restrain 
their  whole-hearted  eagerness,  and  it  still  seems  a  question,  after 
some  months  of  xvork  with  all  ages,  as  to  how  soon  regular  gymnastic 
work  should  begin  with  the  younger  children.  The  educational  value 
of  systematic  games  and  plays  for  children  under  eight  or  nine  years 
is  far  greater.  These,  however,  should  be  developed  systematically, 
from  the  simpler  to  the  more  complex,  and  would  then  be  a  great 
factor  in  developing  the  child's  sense  of  coordination  and  control. 
This  after  all  is  the  main  object  of  physical  training. 

With  the  older  groups  (IV  and  V)  more  stress  was  laid  on  correct 
posture  and  regular  gymnasium  work.  The  plays,  a  great  proportion 
of  them  ball  games,  were  made  more  and  more  difficult,  thus  re- 
quiring increased  coordination  and  self-control.  Drills  took  up  part 
of  the  time,  the  length  of  the  drill  increasing  with  their  capacity, 
and  some  apparatus  work  had  a  marked  effect  upon  the  standing 
position  of  the  children.  Each  week,  fifty  minutes  was  spent  on 
gymnastic  drill,  forty  to  fifty  on  games,  and  twenty  minutes  on 
marching,  running,  and  similar  exercises. 

The  children  of  Group  VIII  spend  much  time  learning  to  work  to- 
gether. Through  their  games  a  great  deal  was  accomplished  toward 
promoting  a  class  spirit,  and  a  certain  amount  of  cooperation  in  then* 
sports  was  soon  noticed,  especially  when  one  part  of  the  class  was 
pitted  against  the  other.  Added  to  this  there  was  a  dawning  realiza- 
tion that  in  order  to  win,  it  was  not  so  much  what  each  individual 
did  that  counted,  but  what  they  did  as  a  whole.  With  the  coming 
of  warm  weather,  baseball  revived,  and  both  boys  and  girls  were 
enthusiastic  about  it.  The  boys  organized  a  team,  elected  officers, 
collected  dues  to  pay  for  the  outfit,  and  began  practice.  The  girls 
took  up  fencing. 


3  dark  Peterson,  Head  of  Department  of  Physical  Culture,  1900-1903. 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  259 

In  Group  X  (age  13)  the  emphasis  was  laid  on  posture,  and  a 
visible  improvement  in  the  carriage  and  general  control  of  the  body 
was  noticed,  which  seemed  to  show  that  more  should  be  done  in  the 
way  of  applied  gymnastics. 

So  many  of  the  school's  activities  involved  the  child's  whole 
body  in  such  a  controlled  way  that  he  developed  physically  as 
well  as  mentally.  As  before  stated  the  limitations  of  the  school's 
equipment  and  environment  and  financial  resources  handi- 
capped the  amount  of  dramatic  and  rhythmic  expression  im- 
portant to  a  well-rounded  development. 

In  the  spring  of  1900  the  bad  posture  of  many  children  re- 
sulted in  a  plan  to  give  each  child  a  thorough  examination  for 
physical  defects.  The  age  at  which  such  an  examination  would 
be  of  help  seems  to  have  been  discussed  thoroughly.  Some 
specialists  held  that,  as  the  percentage  of  children  under  eight 
years  with  slight  spinal  deviations  is  great,  such  examinations 
under  that  age  would  be  impracticable.  The  records  show  that 
all  the  children  above  Group  III  (age  six)  were  individually 
examined.  Of  the  forty-three  girls,  slight  spinal  curvatures  were 
discovered  in  twenty;  three  cases  seemed  serious;  seven  were 
in  poor  physical  condition  irrespective  of  spinal  curvatures. 
Fifty  boys  were  examined;  thirteen  were  found  to  have  spinal 
curvatures;  five  cases  were  serious;  and  twelve  were  in  poor 
physical  condition.  The  examination  was  a  rigid  one,  and 
all  the  slight  deviations  of  the  spine  were  noted,  which  ac- 
counts for  the  large  number  of  curvatures.  The  cases  were  re- 
ported to  the  parents,  and  when  necessary,  special  exericse  was 
advised.  The  general  conclusion  was  that  a  curvature  is  not  a 
normal  condition  at  any  age  and  needs  remedial  measures. 

In  planning  the  program,  preference  was  given  to  those 
physical  activities  which  gave  additional  control  over  the  child's 
whole  organism  through  enlisting  his  social  interest  in  the  end 
or  purpose  of  the  activity,  whether  climbing  a  ladder,  walking 
a  beam  gracefully,  or  playing  a  game  well.  The  ulterior  pur- 
pose of  the  teacher,  however,  was  the  development  in  the  child 
of  control,  skill,  quick  thinking,  and  social  attitudes.  It  is 
scarcely  necessary  to  add  that  an  essential  element  in  all  this 
health  promotion  program,  and  one  recognized  by  all  the  de- 


26o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

partments  of  the  school,  was  the  intelligent  cooperation  of  the 
child  himself  through  his  interest  in  what  contributed  to  his 
own  well-rounded  development  and  the  proper  functioning  of 
his  bodily  organs.  The  place  on  each  group 's  program  for  the 
periods  of  free  bodily  movement  and  play  was  planned  with 
reference  to  the  type  of  work  that  preceded  and  followed  it, 
but  the  test  of  a  satisfactory  period  of  play  and  physical  exercise 
was  a  quiet,  poised,  happy  child.  Such  a  child  went  to  his  next 
class  with  a  contented  spirit,  ready  and  interested  to  enter  into 
the  work. 

The  department  of  physical  education  in  this  school  never 
fully  carried  the  finer  extensions  of  its  meanings  to  their  ex- 
pression in  the  art  of  rhythmic  movement  as  now  developed 
in  the  esthetic  and  interpretative  dance.  In  the  last  year  of  the 
school,  after  it  had  moved  into  the  School  of  Education  build- 
ings, and  there  was  adequate  and  suitable  space  for  such  experi- 
mentation, the  first  steps  toward  such  a  development  were 
taken. 

Many  of  the  activities  of  this  first  group  of  studies  are  part 
of  daily  life  and  minister  to  daily  needs,  such  as  the  buying  and 
preparation  of  food,  the  making  of  clothing,  and  the  construc- 
tion of  shelter.  They  represent  to  a  young  child  the  familiar 
and  yet  mysterious  and,  therefore,  intensely  interesting  things 
that  adults  do.  They  are  the  present;  they  suggest  the  past, 
and  point  to  the  future.  They  thus  provide  a  thread  of  con- 
tinuity in  any  situation,  at  any  time,  which  links  the  child  to 
his  present  no  matter  how  far  afield  he  may  have  gone— imagina- 
tively. 

6  "No  one  any  longer  doubts  the  educational  value  of  the 
training  of  hand  and  eye  and,  what  is  of  greater  importance,  of 
hand  and  eye  coordination.  Nor  is  it  necessary  any  longer  to 
argue  the  fact  that  this  training  of  hand  and  eye  is  also  directly 
and  indirectly  a  training  of  attention,  constructive  and  repro- 
ductive imagination,  and  power  of  judgment.  For  many  years 
the  manual  training  movement  has  been  greatly  facilitated  by 

e  John  Dewey,"  The  Place  of  Manual  Training  in  the  Elementary  Course 
of  Study,"  The  University  Record,  Vol.  I,  No.  32.  (Address  by  Mr.  Dewey 
before  the  Pedagogical  Club,  October  31,  1896.) 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  261 

its  happy  coincidence  with  the  growing  importance  attached  in 
psychological  theory  to  the  motor  element.  The  old  emphasis 
upon  the  strictly  intellectual  elements,  sensations  and  ideas, 
has  given  way  to  the  recognition  that  a  motor  factor  is  so 
closely  bound  up  with  the  entire  mental  development  that  the 
latter  cannot  be  intelligently  discussed  apart  from  the  former. 
Even  more  necessary  in  present-day  society  is  the  social  under- 
standing gained  by  every  child  who  shares,  emotionally  as  well 
as  actually,  in  all  forms  of  physical  labor.  .  .  . 

"It  is  legitimate,  therefore,  to  inquire  whether  there  is  not 
also  something  peculiarly  appropriate  upon  the  social  side 
in  demanding  a  considerable  part  in  elementary  education  for 
this  group  of  activities.  We  must  go  even  deeper  in  our  con- 
ception of  the  educational  position  of  these  activities.  We  ought 
to  see  where  and  how  they  not  only  give  formal  training  of 
hand  and  eye,  but  lay  hold  of  the  entire  physical  and  mental 
organism,  give  play  to  fundamental  aptitudes  and  instincts,  and 
meet  fundamental  organic  necessities.  It  is  not  enough  to 
recognize  that  they  develop  hand  and  eye,  and  that  this  de- 
velopment reacts  favorably  into  the  physical  and  mental 
development.  We  should  see  what  social  needs  they  spring  out 
of  and  what  social  values,  what  intellectual  and  emotional 
nutriment  they  bring  to  the  child  which  cannot  be  conveyed 
as  well  in  any  other  way.  .  .  . 

"A  child  is  attentive  to  what  relates  to  his  activities,  in  other 
words,  to  what  interests  him;  hence  the  senses  get  their  stimulus 
from  the  motor  side,  from  what  the  child  wishes  to  do.  It  is  not 
necessary  to  make  up  a  set  of  stimuli  to  hold  his  attention  or 
to  get  him  interested  when  he  is  using  the  saw  or  plane.  His 
senses  are  on  the  alert,  since  he  must  use  them  to  do  something. 
This  is  the  psychological  reason  for  beginning  with  the  child's 
activities.  On  the  social  side  they  introduce  him  to  the  world 
of  human  relationships;  on  the  individual  side  they  reveal  him 
to  himself  as  a  factor  in  those  relations." 

The  carpentry  shop  of  the  school  was  one  of  its  main  labora- 
tories. The  work  there  brought  the  children  into  relation  with 
the  occupations  of  the  outside  world.  The  study  of  the  source 
of  the  materials  for  this  work  led  the  children  to  many  coun- 


262  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

tries;  its  tools  and  methods  were  linked  to  past  ways  and  means, 
inventions  and  discoveries.  These  activities  led  to  study  of  the 
sciences,  of  physics  as  the  study  of  applied  energy  and  of  the 
methods  of  commerce  and  distribution.  Much  of  the  construc- 
tive work  which  was  necessary  and  related  to  the  development 
of  the  major  activities  of  all  the  groups  was  carried  on  in  the 
shop.  For  a  number  of  years  the  head  of  the  carpentry  shop  con- 
tributed more  than  many  others  to  the  worth  of  this  form  of 
manual  training  in  the  school's  curriculum.  From  his  experi- 
ence he  claims  for  manual  training,  as  for  all  other  occupations 
in  the  school,  that  it  is  not  just  an  attempt  to  teach  a  child  a 
trade,  but  is  a  part  of  the  whole  educational  process. 

7  Because  we  teach  a  child  to  saw  or  plane,  it  does  not  follow  that 
we  expect  the  child  to  be  a  carpenter.  What  we  do  wish  is  to  make 
the  child  think— to  question— to  wonder.  One  day  a  child  was  push- 
ing a  plane  straight  on  a  piece  of  wood  and  remarked  to  his  neighbor 
how  hard  the  plane  worked.  The  small  boy  thus  addressed  said:  "If 
you  put  your  plane  so  (showing  how  to  place  the  plane  at  an  angle 
and  yet  be  perfectly  level  with  the  edge  of  the  board)  it  will  work 
easier/'  When  questioned  why  it  worked  more  easily,  he  said  it  was 
because  all  of  the  plane  was  not  on  the  board  at  once.  The  child, 
knowing  almost  nothing  of  friction,  had  discovered  its  principle  in  a 
concrete  applied  case,  through  his  own  efforts  and  experimentation. 

It  is  more  and  more  commonly  recognized  that  the  best  place  for 
manual  training  is  in  the  lower  grades,  that  the  child  gets  more 
from  it  between  the  ages  of  four  and  fourteen  than  afterwards.  Girls 
profit  just  as  much  as  boys  from  this  training  in  the  early  grades  and 
are  often  as  expert  and  more  painstaking.  .  .  . 

Number  work  is  an  important  skill  and  is  closely  allied  to  the 
shop-work.  Even  the  making  of  a  simple  box  calls  for  a  variety  of 
processes.  In  laying  out  the  five  or  six  parts  of  a  box  from  a  long 
piece  of  wood,  multiplication  and  division  of  inches  and  fractions 
of  an  inch  must  be  used.  Subtraction  of  fractions  enters  into  the 
cutting  of  the  ends  to  fit  the  sides  of  the  box.  Addition  of  inches  and 
fractions  of  inches  is  also  brought  out.  In  fact,  there  is  no  part  of 
manual  training  that  does  not  use  the  number  processes,  and  mental 
arithmetic  in  various  forms  is  often  necessary.  .  .  .  Much  of  the 
work  calls  for  practical  geometry,  and  a  set  of  small  articles  to  help 
in  demonstrating  geometry  was  designed  and  made  by  the  children, 
including  protractors,  squares  bisected  diagonally  and  cut  to  make 


T  Frank  H.  Ball,  "Manual  Training,"  The  Elementary  School  Record, 
Vol.  I,  No.  7. 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  263 

forty-five  degree  triangles,  certain  forms  to  demonstrate  kinds  of 
angles  and  to  show  that  opposite  angles  are  equal  .  .  . 

In  building  the  club-house,  from  the  carpenter's  point  of  view, 
many  ideas  new  to  the  children  were  brought  out.  They  were  in- 
terested to  find  that  in  house  construction  as  in  textile  work,  we  have 
warp  and  filling,  and  that  we  tie  the  parts  to  give  strength.  The  vari- 
ous types  of  joints  were  discussed  in  detail,  and  models  were  made 
in  the  shop.  The  bill  of  lumber  for  the  house  involved  much  cal- 
culation and  use  of  number  processes.  The  number  of  feet  of  floor- 
ing, of  drop-siding,  the  number  of  square  feet  to  be  covered  by 
shingles,  the  number  and  length  of  rafters,  sills,  and  corner  posts 
were  all  calculated  by  the  children.  .  .  . 

It  has  been  said,  "Manual  Training  is  a  distinct  branch  of  educa- 
tion/' Such  is  not  the  case.  It  is  part  of  the  whole  education  of  the 
child,  and  by  working  in  harmony  with  the  other  departments  it 
becomes  more  so.  ...  None  of  the  other  branches  of  the  school  lose 
dignity  because  they  are  made  to  dovetail  into  the  other  subjects. 
Why  should  manual  training?  Weaving  is  more  interesting  to  chil- 
dren because  they  can  make  their  own  looms  and  spindles  in  the 
shop,  and  the  shop  work  is  more  interesting  because  they  can  use 
their  own  products.  History  does  not  become  dull  because  they  have 
made  in  miniature  the  same  things  the  people  they  have  been  study- 
ing about  made.  They  encounter  and  appreciate  the  difficulties  that 
primitive  peoples  met  with,  and  understand  better  the  labor  and 
cost  that  has  gone  into  the  comforts  and  conveniences  of  the  present. 
When  a  group  of  children  came  last  year  with  eager  faces  and  asked 
if  they  might  make  backs  for  the  thermometer  bulbs  they  had  just 
finished  in  the  science  department,  to  them  the  shop-work  was 
of  vital  importance  for  there  they  could  make  an  essential  part  of 
those  thermometers.  Without  the  back  it  would  have  beeen  simply 
a  glass  tube,  filled  with  mercury.  .  .  . 

This  correlation  of  manual  training  with  other  departments  is  in 
a  state  of  evolution  and  will  not  be  accomplished  in  one  year,  nor 
by  one  man.  The  results  must  be  accomplished  by  the  cooperation 
of  all  the  teachers.  When  the  group  teacher  submits  articles  necessary 
in  her  work  and  the  manual  training  teacher  helps  the  children  to 
put  them  into  form,  bringing  out  in  the  process  the  principles  of 
construction,  elements  of  geometry  or  of  tool  practice  which  the  child 
needs,  good  results  will  be  reached.  Formal  number  work  is  put  to 
the  test  of  practical  use  in  the  shop,  and  in  countless  other  ways  too 
numerous  to  mention,  the  work  of  the  shop  is  a  part  of  the  complete 
whole.8 


8  Mr.  Ball  found  that  ordinary  tools  were  much  too  heavy  for  the  younger 
children.  He  planned  and  had  made  a  lighter  set  of  tools  most  frequently 
used,  consisting  of  a  hack-saw,  chisel,  plane,  claw-hammer,  and  a  special 


264  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

Playing  house  or  building  houses  and  playing  at  house- 
keeping in  them,  after  the  manner  of  peoples  being  studied 
by  the  class,  were  constantly  recurring  activities  of  interest 
to  each  age  in  turn.  The  four-  and  five-year-olds  built  houses 
of  blocks  and  then  of  boxes  or  cardboard  and  furnished  them 
to  take  home.  Much  of  the  constructive  work  of  the  children  in 
Groups  I  and  II  was  carried  on  in  their  own  room.  When  they 
came  to  work  with  wood,  however,  the  need  for  skilled  direc- 
tion sent  them  to  the  carpenter  shop  for  help.  One  year  a  group 
of  eight-year-old  boys,  of  their  own  choice  and  on  their  own 
initiative,  constructed  a  large  playhouse  for  the  younger  chil- 
dren to  paint  and  furnish.  Even  at  this  self-centered  age  the 
pleasure  of  working  for  the  kindergarten  children  carried  them 
through  the  continued  effort  necessary  to  complete  the  house, 
to  roof  it  properly,  and  to  leave  it  in  shape  for  the  younger 
children  to  finish. 

In  the  succeeding  years  of  their  school  life,  as  they  relived 
the  story  of  developing  civilization,  the  children  studied  the 
housing  people  of  early  times  had  found  suitable  to  various 
physical  environments.  Some  of  the  projects  proved  too  long 
and  repetitious  to  be  worth  while.  Others  were  most  successful 
and  led  the  children  on  into  further  and  related  undertakings. 
When  Group  VI  (9  years)  were  studying  the  early  settlement  of 
Chicago,  they  undertook  the  construction  of  a  model  of  Fort 
Dearborn.  This  proved  a  long  and  arduous  term's  work,  but 
was  finally  carried  through  and  completed  on  the  last  day 
of  the  quarter.  The  next  year  these  same  children  by  mutual 
agreement  planned  and  furnished  the  inside  of  a  colonial  room. 

The  building  of  the  club-house,  elsewhere  described,  was  the 
peak-point  in  the  development  of  the  shelter  activity  program. 
What  was  accomplished  seemed  small  even  then  in  the  light 
of  what  might  have  been  done  had  there  not  been  so  many 
lacks  in  the  way  of  equipment,  time,  and  space.  Its  story,  like 
that  of  any  pioneering  in  any  field,  is  the  story  of  the  blazing 
of  a  trail.  It  is  difficult  to  tell  in  retrospect  to  what  degree  those 

saw-bracket.  These,  with  the  pencil-compass,  were  all  used  successfully 
by  the  lower  grades.  There  were  no  serious  accidents,  and  the  children 
gained  in  strength,  skill,  and  accuracy. 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  265 

children  or  teachers  who  participated  in  the  project  realized 
the  possibilities  for  its  extension  into  the  fields  of  architecture 
and  house  decoration,  and  thence  into  the  world  of  artistic 
values  and  spiritual  meanings.9  It  remains  to-day  only  a  hint 
of  what  might  be. 

The  other  activities  used  in  the  school  were  determined  on 
the  basis  of  what  would  be  most  constructive  in  broadening 
and  deepening  the  child's  daily  experience  into  well-rounded 
wholes  from  which  expression  through  language  and  other 
forms  of  communication  would  naturally  evolve.  Farming, 
forestry,  pottery-making,  basket-weaving,  gardening,  the  smelt- 
ing of  metals  such  as  copper,  tin,  gold,  silver,  and  many  other 
activities  carried  on  sometimes  in  miniature  held  the  children's 
interest  and  gave  them  a  keener  appreciation  of  raw  mate- 
rials, their  sources  and  possibilities,  the  part  they  had  played 
with  peoples  of  the  world,  and  their  value  in  our  present  social 
organization. 

SUMMARY 

Technique  was  not  stressed  with  the  younger  children.  With 
them  the  chief  interest  was  in  the  process.  If  the  result,  how- 
ever faulty,  served  the  purpose  they  had  in  mind,  it  satisfied 
them.  Much  of  the  meaning  of  the  work  in  the  graphic  and 
auditory  arts  would  have  been  lost  if  this  had  not  been  true. 
Painting  in  the  early  years  is  merely  a  putting  on  of  color. 
If  the  surfaces  of  a  box,  a  chair,  the  wall  of  a  toy  house,  or  just 
sheets  of  paper  are  thus  covered,  the  end  of  the  process,  the  ap- 
plication of  color,  for  a  little  child,  is  a  realized  idea.  He  is  ex- 
pressing in  color  his  idea  of  grass,  of  sky,  of  a  dog  or  a  man. 
To  enable  him  by  helpful  and  timely  direction  to  increase  his 
skill  that  it  might  be  proportionate  to  the  growth  of  his  idea 
was  an  ideal  that  taxed  to  the  utmost  the  skill  of  the  an 
teacher. 


9  An  alumna  of  the  school  writes  as  follows:  "The  building  of  the  dub- 
house,  more  than  all  the  books  I  have  read,  than  all  the  beautiful  buildings 
I  have  seen,  more  than  any  other  experience  in  my  life,  has  helped  me  to 
see  and  appreciate  architecture.  I  got  far  more  out  of  helping  with  my 
own  hands  in  this  real  and  practical  work  than  out  of  books."  Josephine 
Crane  (Mrs.  H.  C.  Bradley). 


266  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

Little  by  little,  also,  in  response  to  need,  desire  awoke  for 
skill  in  the  more  difficult  arts  of  communication,  and  activi- 
ties involving  the  use  of  the  skills  of  reading,  writing,  or  of 
commensurable  numbers,  took  their  place  and  time  in  the 
curriculum.  Thus  the  list  of  the  needful  and  useful  activities 
of  daily  living  multiplied.  Their  educational  import  became 
more  and  more  apparent,  demonstrated  as  it  was,  hour  by 
hour,  day  by  day,  year  by  year.  On  the  basis  of  this  proof  by 
practice  of  the  educational  and  social  value  of  activity,  it  is 
possible  to  draw  certain  generalizations  which  are  in  turn  but 
a  restatement  of  the  original  hypothesis. 

Social  occupations  such  as  these  appeal  to  the  interest  and 
powers  of  little  people  and  at  the  same  time  typify  to  them  in 
simplified  and  understandable  form  the  general  kinds  of  social 
activity  of  their  gradually  enlarging  world.  Children  willingly 
enter  into  the  sort  of  activity  that  occupies  the  adults  of  their 
world,  for  they  recognize  that  they  are  genuine  and  worthy  of 
effort.  Such  activities  are  capable  of  the  utmost  simplification 
to  suit  the  powers  of  any  age;  they  can  also  be  amplified  and 
extended  to  meet  increasing  interests  and  growing  powers. 
The  stream  of  developing  conscious  life  in  a  child  thus  occu- 
pied becomes,  as  it  were,  a  solvent  for  the  absorption  of  useful 
information.  Interest  and  effort  reenforce  one  another  in  the 
process  of  learning  how  to  do  with  increasing  skill  the  things 
which  occupy  his  larger  world  and  are  always  just  ahead  of 
him,  luring  him  on  to  better  individual  effort  to  meet  indi- 
vidual and  social  needs. 

The  developing  program  thus  opened  up  infinite  possibili- 
ties for  the  extension  of  meanings.  It  aided  the  child  to  gain 
an  intellectual  constructiveness  and  a  socialized  disposition. 
The  play  of  the  first  two  years  gradually  took  on  the  character 
of  work,  motivated  as  both  were  by  the  same  social  interest  hi 
purposeful  activity  directed  to  desired  ends.  The  only  ap- 
preciable difference  between  the  two  was  in  the  child's  own 
idea  of  the  larger  result  of  his  work.  These  occupations  of  both 
play  and  work  became  direct  instrumentalities  for  the  exten- 
sion of  meaning.  They  became  magnets  for  gathering  and  re- 
taining an  indefinitely  wide  scope  of  intellectual  considera- 


PRINCIPLES  OF  GROWTH  267 

tions.  They  became  avenues  along  which  and  by  means  of 
which  the  feeling,  thinking,  acting  child  grew  into  greater 
power,  ability,  and  sympathetic  understanding  of  himself  in 
relation  to  his  physical  and  social  world;  they  led  to  the  dis- 
covery of  the  spiritual  quality  of  value  that  attaches  itself  to 
things  that  are  of  use  and  to  relationships  that  are  held  dear. 


PART  in 

EDUCATIONAL  USE  OF  SCIENTIFIC 
METHOD 


CHAPTER    XV 

EXPERIMENTAL 

ACTIVITIES     DEVELOPING 

SCIENTIFIC     METHOD     AND     CONCEPTS 


I 


N  continuing  the  discussion  of  the  school's  curriculum,  it 
is  necessary  to  remember  one  of  the  tenets  of  its  philosophy  of 
growth,  namely,  that  there  must  be  steps  in  the  development 
of  all  subject-matter  comparable  to  the  stages  of  growth  in 
the  experience  of  the  child.  The  first  knowledge  that  is  im- 
portant to  a  child  is  power  to  do.  The  occupations  and  the 
arts,  therefore,  formed  the  initial  stages  of  the  curriculum,  for 
they  correspond  to  knowing  how  to  go  about  the  accomplish- 
ment of  ends. 

This  power  to  do,  this  familiarity  with  many  things  and 
activities,  this  acquaintance  with  skills  and  tools  was  constantly 
extended  and  deepened  through  communicated  knowledge  (or 
information)  gleaned  from  the  storehouses  of  the  past—what 
man  has  done  and  where  and  how  he  has  done  it.  To  the  de- 
gree that  such  information  was  organized  by  the  child  into 
his  experience,  was  used  by  him  to  accomplish  his  construc- 
tion, to  express  his  idea  and  thus  attain  his  end,  it  became  his 
own;  it  acted  as  a  bridge  for  him  to  pass  over  from  doubt  to 
discovery,  from  failure  to  success. 

Scientific  method  was  the  constantly  used  tool  not  alone  in 
the  science  laboratories.  By  common  consent  it  was  the  method 
at  all  times  and  in  all  situations  where  processes  and  activities 
were  such  that  active  investigation,  testing  out  of  guesses  or 
theories,  imagining  possible  results  of  this  or  that  physical  or 
social  relation  could  be  carried  on.  Systematized  facts  and 
knowledge  (commonly  called  scientific)  were  also  made  avail- 
able to  the  child.  He  was  led  by  the  teacher  or  through  access 
to  books  to  see  their  use  in  his  activity  and  was  taught  how  to 

271 


272  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

lay  hold  of  them  as  real  aids  in  his  construction  or  expression. 
Since  the  time  of  this  experiment  in  education,  an  enormous 
amount  of  systematized,  scientific  knowledge  has  been  made 
available.  Largely  through  the  labors  of  secondary  school 
teachers,  chemistry,  physics,  biology,  etc*,  are  taught  in  favored 
normal  schools  and  colleges  in  close  connection  with  the 
processes  of  everyday  life.  The  textbooks  published  for  sec- 
ondary schools  contain  all  details  for  successful  performance 
of  typical  experiments.  These  can  be  easily  rescaled  for  use 
by  teachers  of  the  elementary  age.  One  of  the  main  purposes 
of  this  chapter,  therefore,  is  to  point  out  the  psychological  and 
scientific  grounds  for  wise  choice  of  material  for  this  age.  The 
illustrations  are  chosen  to  show  how  the  child  can  be  helped 
to  make  a  habit  of  forming  generalizations  helpful  in  the  next 
step  or  steps  of  his  plan  or  project. 

GENERALIZATIONS  AT  LOWER  LEVELS 

With  a  young  child  these  generalizations  begin  as  concrete 
groupings  of  objects  by  qualities.  For  example,  he  collects 
stones  of  certain  color,  size,  or  shape,  according  to  his  use  for 
them  in  games  such  as  skipping  over  water.  This  develops 
into  grouping  objects  such  as  stones  according  to  a  character 
more  often  recognized  as  abstract,  for  example,  according  to 
their  method  of  formation.  The  fact  that  sedimentary  rock 
such  as  slate  is  flat  rock  becomes  a  conscious  factor  in  the 
child's  research  for  skipping  stones.  Igneous  rocks  (non- 
explosive)  are  chosen  for  building  a  fireplace.  The  child's  pro- 
cedure, therefore,  has  passed  from  a  color,  size,  or  form  group- 
ing to  an  abstract,  geological  classification  according  to  method 
of  the  origin  because  that  knowledge  is  of  use  in  his  activity. 

LATER  DEVELOPMENT   OF   CLASSIFICATION,    I.  E.,   ABSTRACTIONS 

Such  early  play  experiences  are  the  kind  a  skilled  teacher 
draws  upon  to  verify  and  amalgamate  new  steps  in  the  more 
advanced  activities  of  a  later  study  of  man's  use  of  the  earth's 
rocks  in  making  buildings,  cements,  plasters,  paints,  etc.  In 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      273 

this  later  period  of  school  life  a  child's  power  of  abstraction  takes 
on  more  and  more  adult  form  and  grows  to  an  appreciation  and 
interest  in  the  systematized  fields  of  scientific  knowledge  such 
as  geography,  physiography,  geology,  biology,  chemistry  or 
physics.  Heretofore,  his  experience  has  had,  so  to  speak,  a  geo- 
graphical aspect,  a  historical  or  chemical  aspect.  Geographical, 
historical,  or  chemical  facts  were  interesting  and  appreciated, 
not  for  their  own  sake,  but  largely  because  they  were  useful  in 
his  activity.  With  the  growing  adult  point  of  view  he  develops 
interest  in  and  appreciation  of  the  value  of  organized  and 
classified  knowledge,  again  not  for  its  own  sake,  but  for  its 
classification  and  organization  for  use  in  his  more  mature 
investigation  and  research. 

In  the  formative  period  of  the  elementary  age  these  various 
aspects  of  knowledge  must  fit  into  the  child's  moving  experi- 
ence as  aids  to  his  activities  concerned  with  man's  fundamental, 
needs.  Geography,  physiography,  geology,  etc.,  furnish  facts 
about  the  earth  which  is  man's  home  and  the  physical  and 
chemical  characteristics  of  the  earth's  surface,  its  formation 
and  the  laws  of  its  forces  are  intimately  related  to  life  and 
living.  Biology  is  the  study  of  living  things.  A  teacher  con- 
stantly presents  to  the  child  such  experience  in  the  care  of 
plants  and  animals  that  he  comes  to  understand  the  conditions 
of  growth,  ultimately  tracing  the  source  of  all  life  energy  back 
to  the  sun.  Through  his  interest  in  his  own  growth  and  his 
dependence  on  light,  air,  and  food,  he  later  comes  to  appreciate 
physiology  as  the  study  of  the  way  the  parts  and  organs  of 
living  things  like  himself  function,  and  understands  what 
balance  and  equilibrium  in  living  must  be  maintained  through 
hygienic  habits  of  exercise,  sleep,  and  food.  The  linking  of  the 
preparation  and  care  of  food  with  these  topics  insures  a  favor- 
able conditioning  with  respect  to  them  that  will  survive 
throughout  life.  In  the  school,  the  facts  of  botany,  zoology,  and 
bacteriology  were  taught  from  the  point  of  view  of  function 
and  adaptation  to  environment.  In  such  schooling  the  teacher 
is  also  experimenting  in  the  sense  that  she  cannot  foretell  in 
detail  just  what  turn  the  children's  immediate  reaction  will 
take.  It  is  her  office  to  see  that  the  children,  knowing  what 


274  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

they  want  to  do,  are  helped  to  solve  their  problems  through 
recalling  what  had  been  helpful  in  their  past  experience.  In 
the  process  she  supplied  the  new  vocabulary,  symbols,  or  ap- 
paratus needed. 

INVENTION   AND  DISCOVERY  TESTED   BY   ACTION 

The  method  of  conducting  all  classes  through  the  medium 
of  conversation  and  free  exchange  of  ideas  resulted  in  a  uni- 
form daily  procedure  which  supplied  the  thread  of  continuity, 
for  it  linked  the  experience  of  previous  days  or  weeks  to  the 
new  or  continued  activity  of  the  present.  In  all  this  activity, 
invention  and  discovery  found  their  place.  In  all  social  situa- 
tions, the  ideas  formed  by  the  group  were  tested  in  action. 
When  necessary,  suggestions  were  given  of  ways  to  act,  but  a 
margin  of  the  unknown  was  always  left  which  the  child  must 
try  out  and  so  face  responsibility  in  his  success  or  failure.  An 
essential  moral  attitude,  now  called  facing  reality,  was  achieved 
by  the  child  through  manipulating,  with  varying  degrees  of 
success  or  failure,  the  brute  facts  of  the  material  world,  as  he 
followed  or  developed  his  plan  to  attain  a  desired  result.  With 
growth  in  maturity  the  children  came  to  have  more  and  more 
remote  ends  and  also  became  more  conscious  of  what  they 
did.  Their  group  discussions  were  more  detailed,  and  ex- 
periences of  their  own  past  more  frequently  leaped  into  con- 
sciousness. Children  of  six  years  remembered  playing  millers 
the  previous  year,  but  had  forgotten  what  they  did  as  millers. 
In  dramatizing  the  mining  industry  they  only  wanted  to  be 
the  miners  who  contributed  coal  to  their  own  furnaces.  They 
were  not  interested  as  to  what  determined  the  depth  where 
coal  was  formed.  To  an  alert  teacher  the  questions  asked  in- 
dicate the  amount  of  detail  to  be  used  at  any  age.  In  conse- 
quence, at  six  years  there  was  no  detailed  experimentation 
with  materials  used  in  carrying  out  play.  Each  classroom  was 
a  social  laboratory— a  place  to  experiment  with  ideas  which 
carried  a  social  import.  The  children  tested  the  efficiency  of 
these  ideas  by  dramatic  action.  The  teacher  was  stage  director, 
furnishing  the  necessary  data  (how  and  where  coal  is  really 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     275 

found,  where  forests  grow,  how  men  get  the  trees  that  furnish 
lumber),  and  when  ideas  were  slack,  prompting  with  sugges- 
tion as  to  ways  and  means  or  helping  with  her  greater  knowl- 
edge of  technique.  To  some  teachers  it  seemed  wiser  to  cover 
a  variety  of  occupations  in  this  dramatic  fashion  because  of 
the  wide  experience  of  the  children  with  whom  they  dealt. 
With  those  of  more  limited  experience,  greater  detail  in  carry- 
ing out  a  few  occupations  proved  better  adapted  to  the  chil- 
dren's way  of  thinking.1  When  the  children  had  acquired 
enough  ease  in  the  skills  of  communication  and  had  reached 
the  stage  of  written  reports,  records,  and  stories,  experimenta- 
tion with  language  went  on.  Everywhere  and  at  all  times  the 
teacher's  knowledge  helped  the  child  to  acquire  the  more 
formal  ways  of  putting  oral  expression  and  inflection  into 
written  form.  Punctuation  was  thus  wedded  to  meaning. 
Dramatization  proceeded  in  the  same  experimental  way  from 
the  direct  play  of  reenacting  past  situations  to  a  definite  aware- 
ness by  the  children  of  the  need  of  preliminaries  to  enable 
them  to  convey  their  impressions  of  incident  or  character  to 
others. 

SOCIAL  BASIS   OF  SELECTING  MATERIAL 

A  large  part  of  the  art  of  teaching  is  to  give  thinking  its 
proper  role  as  "a  very  present  help  in  time  of  trouble"  without 
letting  the  child  become  confused  or  discouraged  by  too  large 
problems.  The  difficulties  in  choice  of  materials  which  chil- 
dren can  successfully  use  were  much  lessened  as  the  objective 
reactions  of  other  teachers  who  had  faced  the  same  problems 
and  had  objectively  analyzed  the  reasons  for  success  or  failure, 
became  available.  But  always  the  value  of  individual  experi- 
ence and  experimentation,  whether  by  child  or  teacher,  fur- 
nished the  necessary  drive  to  further  experimentation.  The 
work  which  was  definitely  labeled  scientific  experimentation 

iThis  field  of  experimentation  for  the  teacher  is  still  unlimited.  The 
danger  with  most  teachers  seems  to  be  that  of  embarking  upon  enterprises 
which  require  too  much  repetition  of  operations  that  require  no  thought 
to  carry  one  step  to  the  succeeding  one,  such  as  the  building  of  a  too  com- 
plicated block-house  or  the  wiring  of  a  play  city,  in  contrast  to  the  wiring 
of  a  puppet  theater. 


276  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  always  selected  because  of  its  social  nature.  The  children's 
natural  interest  was  thus  made  the  spring-board  to  experi- 
mental action.  With  the  older  children,  however,  this  developed 
into  more  and  more  conscious  experimentation,  primarily  di- 
rected to  the  carrying  out  of  their  construction,  but,  with  the 
ulterior  purpose  on  the  part  of  the  teacher,  of  planting  in  her 
pupils'  minds  the  beginning  of  fundamental  scientific  con- 
cepts. As  these  concepts  were  truly  fundamental,  they  con- 
cerned practically  everything  attempted. 

EXPERIMENTAL  DEVELOPMENT   OF   SCIENTIFIC    CONCEPTS 

The  way  in  which  these  general  ideas  took  form  historically 
was  found  very  helpful  to  the  teacher  in  arranging  conditions 
for  the  children's  experiments  and  in  choosing  those  experi- 
ences which  would  help  them  to  understand  and  formulate 
definite  physical  and  biological  theories  in  later  school  years. 
In  all  cases  man's  relation  to  the  physical  environment,  his 
control  of  its  forces  and  resources,  led  to  what  may  be  described 
as  a  general  scientific  interest.  The  best  illustration  of  such  an 
enlarging  interest  was  the  way  in  which  the  child's  idea  of  the 
earth's  place  in  relation  to  the  rest  of  the  solar  system  de- 
veloped in  spiral  fashion,  year  after  year.  The  history  of 
mathematics  deals  first  with  the  gropings  of  the  past,  and  in 
them  the  teacher  discovers  how  certain  mathematical  tools 
originated.  He  realizes  that  fundamental  concepts  have  become 
familiar  to  the  expert— they  are  the  first  tools  to  his  hand.  He 
is,  therefore,  often  quite  unaware  that  the  beginner  cannot 
use  these  concepts  intelligently  unless  they  have  been  devel- 
oped in  the  process  of  individual  solving  of  some  practical  con- 
struction difficulty.  If  the  making  of  a  simple  pair  of  scales 
has  been  part  of  a  child's  early  experience,  his  mathematics 
teacher  can  easily  help  him  build  the  concept  of  an  equation 
upon  a  balance  in  equilibrium,  or  of  proportion  upon  the  re- 
lation of  gears.  In  later  years  in  the  more  complicated  but 
similar  problem  of  the  compound  lever,  the  child  will  find 
the  equation,  here  also,  a  useful  tool. 

The  multitudinous  character  of  present-day  knowledge  and 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      277 

the  complexity  of  its  processes  can  only  be  ordered  and  singled 
out  for  educational  purposes  by  sticking  close  to  the  idea  that 
the  facts  which  a  child  learns  only  grow  into  ideas  (facts  act- 
ing), knowledge,  and  wisdom  by  means  of  use  in  a  consciously 
directed  activity.  In  this  school,  therefore,  scientific  subject- 
matter,  both  as  method  and  as  an  organized  body  of  tested 
facts  and  concepts,  was  regarded  as  the  child's  means  (in  ex- 
perimental play)  to  a  constant  process  of  discovery  and  accom- 
plishment in  all  areas  of  his  experience.  This  is  but  another 
name  for  learning.  A  brief  summary  of  the  science  teacher's 
records  of  the  work  in  science  follows: 2  "The  guiding  prin- 
ciple, always  of  great  help  to  a  teacher  selecting  an  activity 
for  a  course  of  study,  was  its  use  in  carrying  the  child  on  to 
an  understanding  of  larger  relations.  The  test  question  about 
an  activity  always  was— were  its  processes  such  as  would  relate 
themselves  in  the  child's  mind,  as  he  carried  them  out,  to  the 
great  general  ideas  which  represent  the  controlling  factors  of 
all  natural  processes.  Of  such  general  ideas,  those  summed  up 
in  what  is  called  the  law  of  the  conservation  of  energy,  the 
various  forms  of  reversible  and  irreversible  transformations  of 
energy  in  the  concepts  of  mass,  motion,  and  momentum,  are 
necessarily  the  most  fundamental.  ...  In  making  this  choice 
the  teacher  must  be  capable  of  seeing  any  process  going  on  as 
a  result  of  an  interaction  of  forces  which  can  be  controlled  by 
analysis,  and  which  are  subject  to  the  same  laws,  no  matter 
how  outwardly  unlike  they  appear  in  manifestation.  The  first 
force  used  by  man,  gravitation,  illustrates  the  advantage  gained 
through  the  use  of  such  a  concept.  It  is  so  continually  and 
everywhere  acting.  Its  very  familiarity  seems  to  have  bred  a 
contempt  which  has  resulted  in  ignoring  its  possibilities  edu- 
cationally. To  introduce  the  child  in  a  natural  way  to  the 
idea  underlying  the  familiar  process  of  weighing  as  the  process 
of  measuring  the  pull  of  the  earth  is  to  give  him  a  concept 
of  force  which  is  his  intellectual  birthright  in  this  twentieth 
century.  In  the  school,  the  identity  of  the  notion  of  weight, 
which  the  child  already  possessed,  with  this  pull  or  force  which 

2  Katharine  Camp,  "The  Place  of  General  Ideas  as  Controlling  Factors/' 
Elementary  School  Teacher,  February,  1904. 


278  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

is  acting  upon  him  in  common  with  all  other  things,  and  the 
idea  of  its  control  and  measurement  were  developed  from 
the  very  earliest  years.  .  .  .  Anthropomorphic  reasons  for  the 
changes  which  the  child  sees  going  on  about  him  were  scrupu- 
lously avoided.  The  causes  of  such  changes  were  stated  in  terms 
of  such  forces  or  motions  as  the  child  already  understood,  or 
were  not  stated  at  all  where  such  an  explanation  seemed  im- 
possible. This  was  the  first  step  toward  a  scientific  attitude. 

ILLUSTRATIONS   OF  THE  GROWTH   OF   IDEAS 

"In  his  first  cooking  the  experimenting  child  found,  through 
his  quantitative  work  with  the  various  cereals,  that  bulk  and 
weight  are  not  synonymous  terms.  He  further  discovered  that 
weight  is  the  only  standard  by  which  he  could  find  the  amount 
of  water  needed  for  each  kind  of  cereal.  This  is  a  great  ad- 
vance. When  he  carries  over  this  idea  of  the  use  of  weight  in 
the  particular  instance,  that  of  finding  the  proper  amount  of 
water  for  his  cereal,  into  its  use  as  a  universal  measure  he  has 
made  another  step.  He  is  then  ready  to  gain  some  conception 
of  the  adaptation  of  this  force  to  man's  advantage  such  as  in 
primitive  uses  of  water  power  and  falling  weights.  He  is  able 
to  translate  what  he  sees  going  on  about  him,  the  falling 
mountain-range,  the  grinding  rocks  rolled  along  by  the  spring 
floods  as  they  tear  away  the  land  or  the  waves  pounding  on 
the  shore,  as  other  manifestations  of  this  same  force.  When  a 
child  recognizes  that  the  wave-motions  in  a  small  pond,  where 
he  directly  controls  their  direction  and  amount,  are  the  same 
in  miniature  as  the  wave-motion  in  lake  or  ocean,  he  is  ready, 
though  it  may  be  in  the  form  of  but  a  dim  feeling,  to  realize 
the  motion  of  the  earth  as  it  sweeps  him  past  the  sun  and  stars 
by  day  and  night.  He  can  then  intelligibly  carry  his  notion 
of  day  and  night  and  the  revolution  of  the  moon  about  the 
earth  over  into  a  comprehension  of  the  yearly  journey  of  the 
earth  about  the  sun.  He  will  seize  with  delight  the  notion  of 
the  circling  planets  as  they,  as  well  as  the  earth,  revolve  about 
the  sun.  The  whirling  top,  the  swinging  pendulum,  and  the 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     279 

sling  shot  will  then  carry  with  them  such  association  as  will 
gradually  build  up  a  usable  concept  of  force  and  motion.  In 
the  school,  children  of  eight  were  able  to  develop  a  rational  sys- 
tem of  weights  and  measures  through  this  notion  of  mass  and 
bulk.  Children  of  nine  carried  the  same  idea  farther  through 
some  practical  application  of  the  principle  of  specific  gravity. 

"The  notion  of  the  increase  of  force  as  proportional  to  the 
velocity  of  a  moving  mass  comes  very  early  in  the  experience 
of  a  running  boy,  and  it  is  possible,  with  proper  apparatus, 
early  to  clarify  the  concept  of  this  force  of  impact  as  dependent 
upon  velocity.  Each  child's  experience  contains  vivid  images 
of  force  embodied  in  a  rapidly  moving  train,  in  a  body  falling 
from  a  great  height,  or  of  the  increased  danger  in  motor  acci- 
dents due  to  acceleration  of  speed.  Associated  with  these  images 
is  a  vague  idea  that  the  force  possessed  by  the  train  is  related 
to  the  rate  and  that  of  the  body  to  the  height  from  which  it 
has  fallen.  Or,  again  the  ever-present  interest  of  the  child  of 
nine  or  ten  in  the  locomotive  can  readily  be  tunied  by  experi- 
ment into  some  idea  of  the  relation  of  the  mechanical  energy 
of  the  train  to  the  chemical  energy  stored  in  the  fuel  used.  This 
can  be  further  traced  to  the  original  source  of  that  energy  in 
the  plants  which  form  the  coal. 

"On  the  biological  side,  in  the  school,  observations  of  the 
effect  of  the  force  of  gravity  on  plants  and  animals  began  in 
the  kindergarten.  The  geotropism  of  roots,  stems,  and  leaves 
is  an  especially  good  point  for  experimentation  with  five-,  six-, 
and  seven-year-old  children  and  helps  the  child  to  a  correct 
conception  of  the  plant  as  a  living  thing,  moving  and  growing 
under  the  same  conditions  as  himself.  The  type  of  experi- 
ment, often  given  later,  which  shows  the  lifting  power  of 
germinating  seed  and  the  strength  of  the  growing  stem  and 
shoot  was  also  tried  at  this  time.  The  very  definite  response 
with  respect  to  posture  of  some  of  the  lower  animal  forms  to 
the  force  of  gravitation  was  one  of  the  earliest  ways  of  helping 
the  child  to  discriminate  between  the  apparently  voluntary  and 
the  involuntary  motions  of  animals  in  his  observation  of  lower 
forms  of  life.  Later,  an  analysis  of  the  more  ordinary  muscular 


28o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

movements  was  attempted  to  bring  out  the  principle  of  use  of 
the  force  involved.  An  analysis  of  locomotion  was  made  to  show 
that  it  is  a  continuous  forward  fall,  in  which  the  attitude  of 
greatest  security  involves  the  principle  of  placing  the  center 
of  gravity  with  reference  to  the  base  of  support.  .  .  . 

"Experiments  which  demonstrate  the  dependence  of  animal 
life  upon  vegetable  and  of  vegetable  life  upon  inorganic  mate- 
rial were  used  to  develop  the  fundamental  conception  of  the 
dependence  of  all  life  on  solar  energy.  The  continual  repeti- 
tion of  such  experiments  year  by  year  involved  more  and  more 
analysis  of  the  forces  concerned." 

It  is  important  to  recognize  that  the  great  scientific  develop- 
ment of  the  nineteenth  century  originated  in  the  need  for 
and  development  of  an  intelligent  control  of  the  processes  of 
manufacture.  This  is  the  clue  to  the  educational  value  of  a 
study  of  the  industrial  processes.  The  interests  of  both  child 
and  teacher,  however,  must  never  center  scientifically  in  the 
logical  use  and  control  of  any  one  particular  process.  The  scien- 
tific principle  involved  must  be  worked  out  not  only  for  that 
process;  it  must  be  widely  applied  also  and  related  by  the  child 
to  the  great  natural  forces  which  his  tiny  process  parallels. 
Thus  in  consecutive  years  the  child  was  helped  to  build  up 
certain  concepts  of  the  character  of  solution.  This  was  begun 
with  a  solution  such  as  salt  in  water.  In  studying  the  various 
uses  of  salt  in  flavoring  and  preserving  food  the  following 
ideas  of  solution  were  developed  through  the  children's  ob- 
servations, questions,  and  experiments.  The  first  was  always 
the  disappearance  of  the  solid  in  the  liquid;  that  it  was  divided 
up  evenly  throughout  the  liquid;  that  it  could  be  recovered 
by  evaporating  the  liquid;  that  the  weight  of  the  solution  was 
always  equal  to  the  sum  of  the  liquid  and  the  solid.  They  also 
learned  some  of  the  common  tests  for  concentration  in  solu- 
tion such  as  the  use  of  brine  strong  enough  to  float  an  egg.  All 
their  experiences  in  solution  found  use  in  the  understanding 
of  digestion  as  the  process  of  making  food  soluble  through  the 
action  of  ferments  so  that  it  could  pass  through  membranes 
into  circulation  and  be  made  available  to  all  the  tissues.  The 
passing  through  membranes  was  illustrated  by  simple  experi- 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      281 

ments  in  osmosis.  In  their  later  study  of  plant  and  animal 
life  many  occasions  arose  for  the  use  of  this  knowledge. 

The  growth  of  this  ability  to  liken  causes,  that  of  his  own 
small  experiment  to  that  of  a  natural  force  and  similarly  to 
compare  the  effects  of  both,  helps  the  child  to  recognize  that 
the  underlying  principle  of  both  is  similar,  and  that  it  is  also 
the  principle  which  is  essential  to  his  desired  end.  He  thus 
comes  naturally  into  the  possession  of  the  scientific  method 
which  is  the  key  to  intellectual  power  in  any  field  of  knowl- 
edge. He  will  do  this  without  divorcing  the  play  of  emotion, 
and  color  of  feeling  from  his  thinking. 

A  science  teacher  in  this  school  had  to  have  at  command  a 
conception  of  the  great  general  ideas  of  science,  and  of  their 
function  as  the  factor  by  which  man  controls  the  natural  world 
before  she  was  equipped  to  select  material  for  a  course  of  study 
in  science  with  a  group  of  elementary  children.  The  type  of 
scientific  material  chosen  and  the  method  of  its  teaching  were 
always  dependent  upon  the  psychological  age  of  the  child.  From 
this  point  of  view  two  stages  of  development  are  recognized 
in  the  years  of  the  elementary  period,  the  one  differentiated 
from  the  other  by  the  child's  growing  ability  to  abstract  con- 
sciously and,  therefore,  to  formulate  and  classify.  As  this  latter 
ability  increases  the  child  gradually  enters  the  second  stage  o£ 
his  development  or  growth— the  period  of  classification  and 
formulation. 


EXPERIMENTATION   IN   THE   ELEMENTARY  PERIOD 

3  The  objection  has  been  made  that  until  the  elementary 
period  is  passed,  experimental  work  finds  no  place  in  the  school 
curriculum,  that  science  work,  or  nature  study,  should  be  ob- 
servational in  method.  The  objection  seems  to  hold  only  when 
experimentation  is  regarded  from  the  adult  point  of  view,  as  a 
basis  for  abstract  formulation.  When  an  experiment  is  used  as 
an  illustration  and  a  form  of  expression,  it  becomes  a  means  of 

a  Much  of  the  remainder  of  this  chapter,  except  as  indicated,  is  taken  from 
an  article  by  Katherine  Camp,  "Science  in  Elementary  Education/*  Ele- 
mentary School  Record f  September,  1900. 


282  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

utilizing  and  training  the  child's  natural  spirit  of  investigation, 
and  the  above  objection  loses  force.  Taken  in  connection  with 
some  social  activity  in  which  the  child  is  engaged,  experiments 
serve  as  valuable  illustrations.  They  are  simplifications  of  the 
complicated  processes  he  has  been  observing.  Any  child  who  is 
allowed  to  play  freely  constantly  constructs  his  own  playthings. 
Soon  he  will  be  found  freely  experimenting  with  his  materials 
and  environment.  It  was  found  desirable  to  utilize  this  desire 
for  expression  through  this  kind  of  constructive  activity,  and 
experimental  work  was  included  in  the  curriculum  with  the 
youngest  children. 

In  the  first  stage  of  growth  until  the  child  is  seven  or  eight 
years  of  age,  the  selection  of  suitable  activities,  which  take  ad- 
vantage of  the  physical,  chemical,  and  biological  facts  that  con- 
stantly come  under  the  observation  of  the  modern  child,  was 
found  to  be  more  of  a  social  problem  than  a  scientific  one.  The 
activities  were  selected,  therefore,  primarily  for  their  social, 
rather  than  their  scientific  value.  (The  term  scientific  is  here 
used  in  the  specialized  sense,  meaning  the  formulation  and 
classification  of  facts  from  the  distinct  points  of  view  of  the 
physicist,  the  chemist,  the  biologist,  or  the  astronomer.)  Scien- 
tifically considered,  therefore,  the  main  problem  during  this 
period  is  to  select  and  reinforce  the  fundamental  phases  of  the 
processes  concerned  in  these  social  activities  by  making  them 
concretely  visible. 

During  the  latter  half  of  this  stage  of  growth,  on  the  social 
side,  typical  occupations  were  chosen  with  great  care.  Similarly, 
on  the  scientific  side,  much  thought  was  used  in  the  selection  of 
those  illustrations  which  are  typical  of  the  action  of  the  phys- 
ical forces  studied.  A  child's  interest  in  plants  and  animals 
is  in  direct  connection  with  their  relation  to  man.  The  condi- 
tions of  physical  environment  should  be  taken  up  only  as  fur- 
nishing occasions  and  material  for  definite  social  activities, 
which  a  young  child  carries  through  with  great  satisfaction.  At 
this  age,  however,  memory  of  the  process  as  something  to  be 
repeated  and  adapted  to  slightly  altered  circumstances,  does 
not  exist.  Until  children  are  seven  years  of  age,  sometimes  older, 
while  there  is  recognition  of  objects,  there  is  rarely  any  distinct 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     283 

memory  of  process.  Such  memory  comes  only  with  the  more  or 
less  conscious  formulation  of  the  process  as  a  means  to  an  end. 
The  six-year-old  children  of  the  school  began  with  an  occu- 
pation in  which  conditions  were  similar  to  those  of  their  own 
actual  environment.  They  next  took  up  some  specialized  forms 
of  this  ocupation  in  which  the  conditions,  such  as  the  changes 
of  the  seasons,  are  in  contrast  to  their  own.  Only  important 
differences,  such  as  the  lengthened  day  and  the  greater  height 
of  the  sun  in  the  sky,  were  considered  in  connection  with  a 
product  of  their  activity,  such  as  wheat  in  the  North  and  sugar- 
cane in  the  South.  The  advance  in  civilization  through  dis- 
covery and  invention,  as  developed  in  primitive  occupations, 
was  the  topic  for  the  next  year. 

While  carrying  on  these  primitive  occupations,  the  children 
naturally  passed  from  the  unreflective  period,  just  as  the  race 
has  done,  into  a  reflective  one.  They  began  to  be  concerned  with 
the  consideration  of  process.  The  discussion  of  the  Iron  Age 
supplied  a  demand  for  the  construction  of  a  smelting  oven.  This 
was  made  of  day  and  was  of  considerable  size.  Its  construction 
required  much  effort.  In  the  first  attempt  the  draft  was  not 
right,  as  the  mouth  of  the  furnace  was  not  in  proper  relation 
to  the  vent,  both  as  to  size  and  position.  Instruction  in  the 
principles  of  combustion  and  the  nature  of  drafts  was  needed. 
It  is  of  great  importance  in  such  teaching  that  the  teacher 
keep  her  twofold  purpose  constantly  in  view:  (i)  to  provide  the 
child  with  opportunity  to  develop  and  use,  thereby  learning, 
great  scientific  truths,  and  (2)  to  preserve,  through  use,  the 
child's  instructive  spirit  of  inquiry,  to  build  in  his  mind  a  con- 
cept of  scientific  method  as  a  practical  tool  and  thereby  guide 
him  into  the  experimental,  the  scientific  habit  of  mind. 

It  was  found  that  at  eight  years  a  child  begins  to  show  in- 
terest in  larger  physical  and  social  relations,  and  the  spirit  of 
adventure  often  flutters  its  wings.  In  this  school  a  study  of  ex- 
ploration and  discovery  at  this  time  introduced  a  variety  of 
social  conditions.  Curiosity  about  the  whole  physical  world  was 
strongly  manifested,  and  a  brief  history  of  the  world  from  a 
bare,  bald  rock  to  its  present  condition  was  the  starting  point 
for  the  consideration  of  the  chief  geographical  forms.  At  the 


284  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

same  time,  in  their  study  o£  occupations  geographical  setting 
was  considered  in  its  connection  with  social  life.  In  the  pre- 
ceding year  the  children  had  relived  various  types  of  early  com- 
munal life  and  had  chosen  their  site  as  suited  to  their  occupa- 
tions. In  this  year  actual  conditions  and  historical  social  events 
were  studied  in  their  geographical  location.  Stated  from  the 
adult's  standpoint,  the  points  taken  up  were  the  zonal  dis- 
tribution of  plants  and  animals,  the  trade-winds,  and  the  char- 
acter of  the  atmosphere  in  its  relation  to  life.  The  main  purpose 
was  to  build  up  in  the  child's  mind  an  idea  of  the  physical  world 
as  a  whole  and  at  the  same  time  to  relate  his  social  interest  to 
definite  areas  in  widely  separated  parts  of  the  world.  About 
this  age  the  children  were  able  to  carry  on  experiments  which 
they  knew  illustrated  general  conditions,  or  which  were  in  re- 
lation to  the  discovery  or  use  of  certain  facts  or  a  force  of  nature 
by  the  particular  people  under  consideration.  Their  approach 
to  the  zonal  distribution  of  plants,  for  example,  may  have  been 
made  through  the  discovery  of  wheat  by  a  tribe  of  primitive 
people.  This  led  the  group  to  various  lines  of  speculation  as  to 
how  wheat-seed  was  first  brought  to  this  locality,  what  sort  of 
climate  it  required,  and  other  specific  questions.  These  in  turn 
opened  up  general  questions  of  seed  dispersal,  distribution  of 
plants  according  to  climatic  conditions,  and  other  questions  of 
plant  relations  and,  in  response  to  the  alert  interest  of  the 
children,  developed  into  a  course  in  plant  physiology  and 
ecology  which  had  been  from  the  beginning,  in  the  mind  of  the 
teacher,  a  part  of  the  science  program. 

This  alert  curiosity  about  and  keen  interest  in  all  life,  both 
plant  and  animal,  was  the  result  of  a  careful  stimulation  of  the 
child's  natural  impulses  to  observe  and  investigate  his  world. 
This  desire  to  know  more  about  the  needs  of  plant  life,  its 
preservation  and  reproduction,  led  naturally,  therefore,  into 
a  continually  enlarging  course  of  study  of  plant  life  and  plant 
relations.*  The  course  dealt  with  the  life  processes  of  the  plant, 
especially  those  of  nutrition,  assimilation,  growth,  and  irri- 

*  Course  developed  for  the  most  part  by  Katherine  Andrews  who  worked 
under  the  guidance  and  in  dose  collaboration  with  Prof.  John  M.  Coulter 
of  the  University. 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     285 

lability,  with  the  plant's  relation  to  animals  and  to  other  plants, 
with  the  influences  of  soil,  moisture,  and  other  environmental 
conditions  upon  the  plant,  and  with  the  influence  of  plants 
upon  their  environment  and  geographical  conditions.  Form 
and  structure  were  emphasized  only  where  they  illustrated  the 
adaptations  to  function  made  by  the  plant.  From  this  point  of 
view  the  shape  and  character  of  leaves  and  stems  were  regarded 
as  important  only  so  far  as  they  are  related  to  light.  The  flower 
was  important  only  in  its  relation  to  reproduction.  The  use  of 
technical  terms  was  avoided  so  far  as  possible,  though  given 
the  children  if  necessary. 

From  a  wealth  of  material  for  study,  choice  was  made  of  that 
which  was  appropriate  to  the  season,  had  some  relation  to  the 
work  of  the  group  in  other  branches,  and  did  not  present  too 
many  difficulties.  One  group  of  children,  nine  years  of  age,  be- 
gan the  work  in  the  fall  with  the  story  of  seed  dispersal.  They 
first  observed  and  classified  all  the  seeds  they  found  according 
to  their  adaptations  for  dispersal,  whether  by  wind,  water,  ani- 
mals, or  violent  discharge  from  the  seed-pod.  Later  these  same 
children  carried  out  some  simple  experiments  in  nutrition, 
respiration,  and  transpiration.5  The  following  experiment 
which  proved  the  weight  of  air,  even  to  the  most  skeptical  child, 
was  part  of  a  series  of  experiments  to  discover  the  sources  of  the 
food  of  plants.  The  added  inference  by  the  children  that  air 
has  weight,  was  unexpected  to  the  teacher:  6 

Each  child  carefully  weighed  a  pot  and  filled  it  with  dry  loam, 
weighed  the  pot  again,  and  computed  the  weight  of  the  loam.  He 
then  weighed  a  bean  seed  and  planted  it  in  the  known  quantity  of 
loam.  The  pots  were  put  in  a  favorable  place  for  growth  and  kept 
watered.  Account  was  kept  of  the  amount  of  water  put  upon  the 
plant  during  the  experiment.  When  the  seedling  was  about  six 
indies  high,  it  was  taken  out  of  the  pot,  and  both,  seedling  and  earth 
were  thoroughly  dried  and  weighed.  In  all  cases  the  children  found 
an  excess  in  weight  of  the  earth  and  the  seedling  (seven  grams) 
over  the  earth  and  bean.  This  greatly  surprised  some  of  the  children, 
as  they  thought  a  plant's  food  came  only  from  the  earth;  others  said 

sKatherine  Andrews,  "Experiments  in  Plant  Physiology,"  Elementary 
School  Record,  No.  4  (May,  1900). 
6  Ibid. 


5>86  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

they  knew  plants  took  in  air  through  their  leaves  and  that  had 
caused  the  extra  weight.  An  additional  experiment  was  made  to 
prove  to  some  skeptical  children  that  air  has  weight  by  showing  its 
pressure.  One  child  thought  that  the  water  put  upon  the  plant 
might  have  contained  something  dissolved  in  it  which  would  not 
evaporate.  So  a  quantity  of  water  equal  to  that  upon  the  plant  was 
evaporated  and  the  remaining  solids  found  to  weigh  one-tenth  of  a 
gram.  As  this  would  not  account  for  the  seven  grams,  they  consid- 
ered their  original  conclusion  correct. 

In  further  experiments  the  children  worked  out  the  rela- 
tions of  air  and  water  currents  to  the  varying  pressure  pro- 
duced by  the  expansion  of  the  air  by  heat.  In  developing  a 
problem  such  as  the  trade-winds,  a  child  of  this  age  takes  only 
general  features—the  motion  of  the  winds  as  produced  by  the 
motion  of  the  earth,  the  pouring  in  toward  the  equatorial  re- 
gions of  the  heavy,  cold  air  from  the  north  and  south,  and 
the  forcing  upward  of  the  broad  belt  of  air  heated  by  a  tropic 
sun.  When  local  weather  conditions  were  studied,  the  condi- 
tions of  the  child's  own  environment  were  taken  as  a  starting 
point.  No  detailed  or  continuous  weather  observations  were 
made. 

By  this  time  the  children  had  a  fairly  definite  idea  of  the 
world  as  a  whole.  It  was  to  them  a  rock  ball,  on  which  the 
continents  are  slight  elevations  covered  with  a  thin  soil  pro- 
duced by  the  crumbling  of  the  rock.  They  pictured  this  ball 
surrounded  by  great  bodies  of  water  in  which  warm  and  cold 
currents  circulate  and  modify  the  climates  of  the  shores.  It  is 
covered  with  an  atmosphere,  a  medium  of  exchange,  by  means 
of  which  the  most  important  conditions  of  life— water,  light, 
and  heat— are  distributed.  They  thought  of  it  as  covered  with 
plant  and  animal  life,  its  kind  and  abundance  being  deter- 
mined by  physical  environment  For  the  most  part  they  had  a 
fairly  definite  idea  of  the  chief  causes  affecting  climate  and 
the  zonal  distribution  of  plants  and  animals,  and  of  man's  con- 
tinuous control  and  adaptation  of  conditions  about  him.7 

7  Mrs.  Ailing  Aber's  book  on  An  Experiment  in  Education  will  give  teach- 
ers a  concrete  illustration  of  how  this  work  was  first  carried  through  suc- 
cessfully with  children. 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     287 

In  their  experiments  with  plants  these  nine-year-old  chil- 
dren demonstrated  the  dependence  of  both  plant  and  animal 
life  upon  these  elements  and  the  conditions,  and  upon  each 
other. 

A  strong,  growing  leaf  was  submerged  in  a  glass  of  water  and  put 
in  direct  sunlight.  Bubbles  which  the  children  recognized  as  a  gas 
were  seen  to  come  off  from  the  leaf.  They  noticed  that  these  bubbles 
came  off  faster  in  strong  sunlight  and  ceased  altogether  when  the 
glass  was  placed  in  darkness.  To  find  out  the  nature  of  the  gas, 
some  was  collected  by  putting  algae  in  a  large  beaker  of  water  and 
a  funnel  over  the  plants.  A  test-tube  was  filled  with  water  and  in- 
verted over  the  stem  of  the  funnel,  so  that  the  mouth  of  the  tube 
was  just  under  the  water.  The  beaker  was  placed  in  strong  light,  and 
as  the  bubbles  arose  they  were  led  into  the  test-tube  through  the 
funnel  and  displaced  the  water  in  the  tube.  When  enough  had  col- 
lected to  test,  the  children  applied  a  glowing  splinter  to  the  gas  and 
found  that  it  burst  into  flame,  proving  the  gas  to  be  oxygen.  A 
strong,  healthy  plant  was  then  put  under  a  bell-jar  together  with  a 
small  beaker  of  clear  lime  water.  Fresh  air  from  outdoors  was  in- 
closed in  the  jar  and  the  rim  covered  with  vaseline  so  that  no  air 
could  get  in.  The  bell-jar  was  covered  with  a  black  cloth  so  that  the 
plant  would  be  under  night  conditions.  The  next  morning  a  white 
coating  was  found  on  the  lime  water,  which  the  children  knew 
showed  the  presence  of  carbon  dioxide. 

From  these  experiments  the  children  concluded  that  two 
processes  went  on,  one  a  giving  out  of  oxygen  and  the  other 
a  giving  out  of  carbon  dioxide.  They  knew  that  the  air  con- 
tained oxygen,  which  was  taken  in  by  animals  and  converted 
into  carbon  dioxide,  and  they  saw  that  the  process  of  respira- 
tion was  similar  in  plants.  But  the  quantity  of  oxygen  given 
off  was  much  greater  than  the  amount  of  carbon  dioxide,  for 
there  were  many  bubbles  of  oxygen  coming  from  the  sub- 
merged plant,  while  the  carbon  dioxide  (which  they  found  to 
come  off  in  darkness)  did  not  cause  bubbling.  This  excess  of 
oxygen  would  keep  the  air  in  a  condition  fit  for  animals  to 
live  in.  They  were  told  that  the  process  of  respiration  went  on 
all  the  time,  but  only  in  sunlight  could  the  plant  take  in 
carbon  dioxide  and  convert  it,  with  the  water  and  nutriment 
derived  from  the  soil,  into  starch  and  other  food  for  the  plant. 


288  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  presence  of  green  matter  in  the  leaves,  as  necessary  to 
the  manufacture  of  food,  was  emphasized. 

At  nine  years,  sometimes  as  early  as  eight,  the  child's  atti- 
tude toward  his  work  begins  to  change.  Although  both  gen- 
eralization and  specialization  in  science  come  much  later,  yet 
the  method  and  spirit  of  his  inquiry  are  modified  at  this  age, 
and  he  has  entered  upon  what  may  be  called  the  second 
period  of  elementary  education. 

Physiography  was  chosen  as  the  first  subject  to  be  lifted 
out  of  its  immediate  relation  to  the  activities  of  his  tor}'.  This 
change  in  method  was  partly  in  response  to  the  children's 
dawning  realization  at  ten  years  of  the  relation  of  means  to 
ends.  It  was  also  in  response  to  their  increasing  ability  to  fol- 
low one  field  of  interest  continuously  and  to  deduce  general, 
uniform  principles  from  their  observations  or  experiments. 
Physical  geography  was  continued  with  the  eleven-year-old 
children  and  covered  the  general  physical  characteristics  of 
the  whole  United  States.  A  change  was  made  to  a  more  defi- 
nitely planned  and,  therefore,  more  formal  method  of  treat- 
ment. The  children  carried  on  their  work  by  (i)  discussion, 
(2),  written  papers,  (3)  assigned  reading,  (4)  construction  of 
putty  relief  maps  of  the  chosen  localities.  In  the  following  year 
the  class  made  a  detailed  study  of  the  formation  of  the  earth, 
and  especially  of  sedimentary  rocks. 

In  all  of  the  experimental  work  of  the  second  growth  period 
the  consciousness  of  the  end  to  be  attained  was  more  definite, 
and  the  processes  necessary  to  attain  that  end  were  more  in- 
volved than  in  that  of  children  in  the  first  stage.  During  this 
period  as  in  the  first,  the  activities  are  still  carried  on  for  their 
own  sake.  They  were,  however,  more  consciously  used  as  a 
means  to  a  result,  which  may  be  valuable  to  the  child  either 
because  of  its  social  or  its  scientific  interest.  At  this  time  the 
child  begins  to  experiment  consciously.  He  initiates  certain 
conditions  to  find  out  what  will  happen.  Instead  of  "Tell  me 
why  this  happens,"  he  is  apt  to  say,  "Don't  tell  me,  let  me  see 
if  I  can  find  out  myself." 

In  an  article,  "Astro-Geography"  this  anecdote  is  told  which 
indicates  the  children's  ability  to  take  large  and  comprehen- 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      289 

sive  views  of  the  physical  and  social  world  at  the  age  of  eight  or 
nine  years.8 

The  members  of  a  class  were  discussing  plans  for  a  year's  work  on 
the  history  of  Chicago.  ...  A  small  boy  of  eight  very  seriously 
propounded  the  following  problem  which  had  evidently  caused  him 
much  thought:  "Which  do  you  think,"  he  said,  "is  the  best  way  to 
study  geography— to  begin  with  your  own  place  and  go  out,  out,  out, 
until  you  reach  the  stars,  or  to  begin  with  the  stars  and  come  in 
and  in  until  you  reach  your  own  place  again?"  He  was  told  that  peo- 
ple differ  as  to  the  wisdom  of  either  course,  was  reminded  that 
during  the  previous  year  he  had  studied  about  people  who  lived  in 
very  different  parts  of  the  earth,  and  the  present  plan  was  to  study 
about  his  own  locality.  He  accepted  the  answer,  and  seemed  satisfied 
to  begin  at  home.  While  settling  back  contentedly,  however,  he 
murmured:  "But  I  shall  get  a  book  about  the  stars,  anyway."  This 
story  may  indicate  an  unusual  state  of  mind  in  an  eight-year-old 
child.  Experience  has  proven,  however,  that  children  between  eight 
and  nine  take  a  large  and  universal  view  of  their  world  much 
oftener  than  they  are  given  credit  for  so  doing.  .  .  . 

The  article  continues: 

A  city  child  has  so  much  of  people  and  their  many  activities  that 
his  naive  attitude  of  wonder  and  delight  in  the  heavenly  bodies 
may  die  still-born.  It  behooves  both  school  and  home,  therefore,  to 
give  him  the  chance  which  only  the  leisure  of  youth  can  afford,  for 
development  of  his  genuine  interest  in  the  marvels  of  the  countless 
stars  and  immense  distances  of  space.  Neither  should  it  be  forgotten 
that  there  is  a  great  plasticity  still  inherent  in  the  child's  mind, 
which  makes  possible  the  use  of  material  that  seems  to  the  ordinary 
adult  mind  too  abstract  or  too  remote  to  be  suggestive.  Furthermore, 
a  child  eight  or  ten  has  no  fear  of  any  subject  because  of  association, 
no  habit  of  regarding  one  problem  as  more  difficult  than  another. 
Points  in  astro-geography,  as  in  physiography,  which  take  an  hour's 
work  with  college  students,  were  worked  out  by  children  of  this  age 
in  fifteen  minutes.  .  .  .  Occasions  often  arise  with  very  young  chil- 
dren when  they  note  marked  changes  in  length  of  day  and  night, 
and  of  season.  If  reference  to  the  causes  of  these  changes  is  made  in 
a  story  form,  the  teacher  can  keep  the  ideas  plastic  and  open  to  the 
larger  universal  view,  even  though  at  the  time  the  child  may  be 
occupied  with  small  results  of  the  same  changes,  such  as  autumn 
fruits,  winter  ice  and  snow,  the  planting  of  his  garden,  or  the  re- 
turn of  the  birds  in  the  spring.  Seven-year-old  children  begin  to  ask 

sKatherine  Camp,  "Astro-Geography  for  Children,"  The  Elementary 
School  Teacher,  Vol.  IV,  No.  5, 1904. 


290  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

definitely  for  the  story  of  the  earth.  Observation  of  the  days  of  the 
equinoxes  and  the  relation  of  the  Christmas  holiday  to  the  return 
of  the  sun  will  help  make  the  story  of  the  seasons  dramatic.  Here 
again,  in  connection  with  something  they  are  carrying  on,  can  be 
introduced  the  explanation  of  the  moon's  phases,  why  the  North 
Star  only  seems  stationary,  and  other  stories  to  identify  the  guiding 
stars  of  the  heavens.  By  the  use  of  globes  and  a  strong  light,  a  real 
appreciation  of  the  reason  for  the  visible  changing  phases  of  the 
moon  may  be  easily  demonstrated,  also  the  periodic  recurrence  of 
the  eclipse.  The  detailed  working  out  of  the  definite  position  of  the 
moon  with  relation  to  the  sun  and  earth,  which  results  in  its  differ- 
ent phases,  might  better  be  left  until  two  or  three  years  later.  It 
was  found  that  the  child  at  this  early  age  will  learn  to  look  for  the 
full  moon  rising  in  the  east,  as  the  sun  disappears  in  the  west,  and 
associate  that  eastern  position  with  its  relation  to  the  sun. 

Much  experimental  work,  besides  that  given  in  connection 
with  the  ecology  of  the  lake  region,  was  incidental  to  the  study 
of  colonial  industries.  The  various  processes  of  the  textile  in- 
dustries of  colonial  times  were  taken  up  in  detail  and  included 
the  cultivation  and  preparation  of  wool,  flax,  and  cotton.  In 
connection  with  the  construction  of  some  machines  used  in 
the  textile  process  studied,  a  most  primitive  type  was  studied 
first  to  show  man's  first  use  of  energy.  The  later  forms  fol- 
lowed which  illustrate  a  more  complicated  type  involving  a 
change  of  the  form  of  energy.  In  such  a  machine  as  the 
spinning-wheel  the  three  laws  of  machines  take  concrete  form 
as  bringing  about  some  desired  end— the  thread  made.  With 
an  understanding  of  the  spinning-wheel  as  a  background,  a 
child  easily  appreciates  each  step  made  in  the  invention  of  the 
spinning-jenny,  and  its  apparently  complicated  action  is  in- 
telligently followed.  He  hails  with  delight  each  modification 
which  overcomes  a  difficulty. 


GROWTH   OF  SCIENTIFIC  METHOD  IN   COOKING 

In  his  laboratory  work  in  cooking,  the  child  at  the  end  of  his 
eighth  year  had  completed  a  threefold  classification  of  foods. 
In  the  succeeding  one,  in  his  study  of  the  physiology  of  diges- 
tion, he  attempted  a  more  analytic  look  at  each  classification. 
The  effect  of  heat  and  water  on  carbohydrates,  fats,  and  pro- 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      291 

teins  was  determined  by  means  of  detailed  experiment.  The 
value  of  cooking  as  a  preparation  for  digestion  was  learned. 
In  this  way  he  made  a  general  survey  of  the  process  of  diges- 
tion and  gained  some  familiarity  with  it.  The  points  taken 
up,  at  this  time,  were  general.  The  aim  was  to  secure  an  idea 
of  the  digestive  process  as  a  series  of  solutions  accomplished 
by  fermentation,  of  the  function  of  each  part  of  the  digestive 
system,  and,  in  a  general  way,  of  the  relation  of  food  to  energy. 
The  detail  of  these  processes,  the  particular  chemical  or  phys- 
ical force  at  work,  did  not  concern  him.  All  he  wanted  was 
a  simple  illustration  of  "what  happened":  hence  he  was  not 
troubled  by  the  fact  that  we  do  not  know  how  it  happens,  or 
in  the  true  sense  exactly  what  does  happen.  This  sort  of  illus- 
trative experimental  work  seems  to  fulfil  requirements  which 
demand  recognition  of  a  problem,  initiation  on  the  child's 
part,  and  utilization  by  him  of  means  suggested  by  the  teacher 
to  obtain  an  end  which  he  appreciates  and  desires. 

It  was  found  necessary  to  take  time  each  year  to  sum  up 
the  general  features  of  the  year's  work.  Different  avenues  of 
approach  were  used  in  making  this  summary.  In  one  year, 
with  children  of  nine  or  ten,  the  geography  of  the  whole  world 
was  attempted  from  the  mathematical  point  of  view,  the  need 
for  the  use  of  latitude  and  longitude  in  their  historical  work 
furnishing  the  occasion. 

STUDY   OF  THE  EARTH  BY  TEN-YEAR-OLD  CHILDREN 

After  this  kind  of  preparation  the  child  at  ten  years  was 
ready  to  take  up  the  growth  of  the  continent  as  a  convenient 
basis,  on  die  geographic  side,  for  gathering  together  all  his 
previous  experience.  A  brief  review  was  made  of  the  various 
theories  of  the  earth's  formation  and  its  position  in  the  solar 
system  as  affecting  climatic  conditions.  This  was  the  starting 
point  for  the  consideration  of  the  physical  forces  at  work  in 
the  formation  of  the  continent  of  North  America.  As  in  the 
fifth  year,  the  child  was  led  to  sum  up  his  knowledge  and  state 
his  conception  of  the  earth  as  a  rock  ball  whose  surface 
throughout  long  ages  has  taken  definite  shape  by  the  inter- 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

action  of  forces  which  are  still  at  work.  The  main  purpose  was 
to  help  the  child  form  a  notion  of  the  dynamic  character  of 
the  changes  in  the  earth's  surface,  to  see  that  its  present  condi- 
tion is  but  one  stage  in  a  long  series,  and  that  the  same  forces 
which  acted  in  the  past  act  still.  In  this  way,  he  was  led  to 
construct  imaginatively  the  conditions  which  must  have  ob- 
tained in  very  early  stages  of  geological  history.  Here,  as  in 
his  previous  reconstruction  of  physiographic  conditions,  his 
images  were  of  the  most  general  character. 

Experimentation  accompanied  this  imaginative  remaking  of 
the  continent,  in  order  to  secure  typical  concrete  illustrations 
of  such  things  as  the  action  of  a  gas  on  a  solid,  the  solution  in 
water  of  the  solids  changed  by  such  action  and  the  subsequent 
crystallization  of  the  solid  from  that  solution,  the  solution  of 
a  gas  in  a  liquid,  and  of  the  conditions  that  determine,  roughly 
speaking,  that  solution.  The  physical  characteristics  connected 
with  the  formation  of  the  rocks  in  the  various  geologic  ages 
were  taken  up  in  more  or  less  detail.  The*  amount  of  time  thus 
spent  was  determined  by  the  possibility  of  actually  reproduc- 
ing some  of  the  conditions  which  bring  about  the  structure 
considered. 


ADAPTATION  OF  TOPICS  TO   INDIVIDUAL  GROUPS   FOR  OLDER 
CHILDREN 

With  older  children,  from  ten  to  thirteen,  many  such  ideas 
can  be  worked  out.  Those  which  are  involved  in  the  construc- 
tion of  a  sun-dial,  of  the  day  circle,  the  mapping  of  the  chief 
constellations,  and  the  making  of  such  a  model  of  the  solar 
system  as  is  suggested  in  Iles's  Intuitive  Geometry.  One  year's 
work  of  the  twelve-year-old  children  involved  a  review  of  the 
geographical  features  of  the  historical  setting  studied  and  of 
the  work  on  general  physical  forces  and  zonal  distribution, 
etc.,  covered  when  the  children  were  ten.  The  view  of  the 
world  as  a  whole  was  then  dropped  and  taken  up  the  follow- 
ing year  from  the  standpoint  of  physical  geography  and  geol- 
ogy. Even  in  the  ninth  year  of  school  life,  when  the  child  is 
between  twelve  and  thirteen,  the  interest  in  formulation  and 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      293 

classification  as  such  was  not  strongly  apparent.  True  sec- 
ondary education  in  scientific  subjects  could  not,  therefore,  be- 
gin. The  practical  differentiation  begun  the  previous  year, 
however,  was  carried  farther  with  advantage  during  the  year. 
Practical  considerations,  as  always,  determined  whether  the 
differentiation  took  a  physical  or  a  biological  aspect.  On  the 
biological  side  the  natural  sequence  was  a  further  study  of  the 
existing  types  of  animal  life,  kept  in  touch  with  the  evolu- 
tionary processes  as  briefly  given  the  preceding  year  in  the 
geological  study  of  North  America. 

Group  X,  at  the  age  of  thirteen  years,  took  their  first  general 
course  in  biology.  This  was  planned  to  develop  the  idea  of 
animal  life,  began  with  simple  forms,  and  ended  with  the 
physiology  of  man.  The  course  was  centered  on  the  function 
of  parts  rather  than  a  detailed  study  of  the  changes  in  form 
of  anatomical  parts;  it  was  accompanied  by  some  experiments 
in  plant  physiology,  which  emphasized  the  adaptation  of  plants 
to  environment,  and  was  illustrated  by  the  adaptation  of 
vegetation  to  a  city's  smoke  and  heat. 

The  theories  of  the  formation  of  the  earth  as  a  part  of  a 
nebulae,  once  like  other  nebulae  seen  today,  were  repeated 
from  year  to  year,  and  afforded  an  important  and  clear  illus- 
tration of  the  way  in  which  scientific  theories  are  formed  only 
to  be  replaced  by  others.  The  purpose  of  a  theory  as  a  work- 
ing basis  for  thought  became  familiar  to  the  children.  For 
years  the  study  of  science  had  been  planned  to  build  up  in  the 
mind  of  the  child  a  mental  image  of  the  physical  and  biological 
processes  of  change  and  growth  as  a  continuous  round  of  the 
freeing  and  utilization  of  energy.  The  physical  forces  of  gravity, 
heat,  light,  electricity  were  seen  as  factors  in  the  process,  some- 
times tearing  down  and  at  others  building  up.  During  these 
years  practically  the  whole  story  of  life  and  growth  had  been 
presented  in  terms  of  family  life  and  in  relation  to  its  require- 
ments for  food,  shelter,  and  clothing.  Various  activities,  chosen 
because  of  their  social  worth,  illustrated  these  processes  in  more 
specific  fashion  and  made  the  ideas  of  solution,  evaporation, 
crystallization,  and  precipitation  concrete  to  the  child.  Solids, 
liquids,  and  gases  became  familiar  forms  of  matter.  Over  and 


294  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

over  the  story  of  the  earth  was  told,  the  formation  of  the  rocks 
and  soil  and  the  parts  that  air  and  water,  heat  and  light  play 
in  the  life  of  plants  and  animals.  From  the  very  beginning  the 
concept  of  gravity  as  the  pull  of  the  earth  on  matter  was 
presented  to  the  children.  They  rediscovered  the  use  of  weights 
and  measures  as  a  way  of  finding  the  amount  of  the  pull  or 
gravitation,  of  the  scales  as  a  device  for  finding  equal  pulls  or 
for  the  comparison  of  quantity  as  obtained  by  measurement, 
and  of  mass  as  measured  by  the  pull  of  the  earth.  At  eight  years 
the  child  had  formulated  a  rational  system  of  weights  and 
measures;  a  year  later  he  understood  something  of  the  laws  of 
falling  bodies  and  recognized  the  motion  of  the  pendulum  as 
governed  by  the  same  laws.  Constant  reference  of  this  sort  to 
illustrations  of  this  force  acting  in  the  world  about  him  had 
made  the  child's  idea  more  and  more  explicit,  until  in  his 
work  on  machines  he  was  ready  to  use  the  notion  of  measur- 
ing work  by  units  of  weights  carried  through  units  of  space. 
Through  his  own  observations  he  could  interpret  the  effects  of 
the  ever-acting  gravitational  force  on  animals  and  plants  and 
as  used  in  the  barometer  and  water-power. 

In  the  same  way  other  topics  were  taken  up  in  this  spiral 
fashion.  The  part  that  plants  play  in  rendering  the  energy 
from  the  sun  available  to  animals  was  developed.  The  idea 
of  time  and  its  measurement  was  related  year  after  year  to  the 
rotation  of  the  earth  on  its  axis  and  around  the  sun,  as  the 
cause  of  the  change  of  the  seasons  and  of  day  and  night.  Each 
year  the  concept  of  the  earth  as  a  whole  and  in  its  relations  to 
the  sun  and  in  the  solar  system  grew  in  clarity  and  meaning. 

SPECIAL  SCIENTIFIC  TOPICS 

When  the  school  closed,  two  of  the  groups  had  arrived  at 
the  point  where  they  profitably  pursued  special  scientific  topics. 
They  studied  general  biology  from  the  evolutionary  point  of 
view,  and  special  aspects  of  physics  as  well  as  mathematics  were 
successfully  taught  them  by  graduate  students  in  the  University. 
A  course  in  physiography  supplemented  one  in  sanitation  given 
in  connection  with  the  choice  of  the  club-house  site.  All  of 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     295 

the  courses,  with  the  exception  of  the  last,  were  taught  by 
graduate  students  who  were  at  the  same  time  doing  special 
\vork  under  the  many  specially  gifted  lecturers  and  teachers 
then  gathered  in  the  University  of  Chicago.  All  were  chosen 
by  the  Director  because  their  major  interest  lay  in  the  par- 
ticular subject  taught.9 

It  was  felt  that  during  the  nine  years  of  the  school's  curricu- 
lum the  use  made  of  observation  and  experimental  activities 
accomplished  certain  definite  results.  Those  who  observed  the 
children  felt  they  had  attained  to  a  measure  of  skill  and  readi- 
ness in  the  use  of  the  experimental  method  of  inquiry,  had 
gained  a  general  conception  of  die  dependence  of  the  various 
forms  of  life  upon  each  other  and  upon  the  inorganic  world, 
had  given  evidence  that  their  general  interest  in  what  happens 
in  an  experiment  had  passed  over  into  an  interest  in  how  the 
thing  happens,  and  in  addition,  had  learned  the  use  of  books 
as  sources,  not  only  of  information,  but  also  of  the  condensed 
conclusions  of  other  men's  observations.  They  were  ready,  in 
all  respects,  for  the  more  specialized  work  of  the  secondary 
period.  Such  a  child  would  be  in  no  danger  of  assuming  too 
soon  and  too  rigidly  the  attitude  of  the  specialist.  He  would 
be  able  to  choose  a  point  of  view  from  which  to  regard  any 
set  of  natural  conditions  whether  geological  or  biological,  with- 
out shutting  out  the  interaction  of  one  field  of  observation 
upon  the  others.  The  machine  with  which  he  would  perform 
experiments  in  the  physical  laboratory  would  never  be  to  him, 
as  it  is  now  to  many,  a  unique  and  isolated  invention  of  the 
laboratory,  but  would  find  its  place  as  a  means  of  analysis  of 
all  the  various  forms  of  machines  in  use  about  him.  Further- 
more, his  interest  in  nature  would  never  be  that  of  the  col- 
lector pure  and  simple,  but  rather  that  of  the  scientific  natural- 
ist whose  collections  have  some  specific  and  definite  aim.  The 
children  of  this  school  had  lived  through  a  continuous  series 
of  concrete  experiences,  in  which  each  used  his  own  acquired 
method  of  experimentation  and  logical  reasoning  as  his  guide 

a  Biology,  George  Carrey;  physics,  A.  T.  Jones,  A.  T.  Stewart;  mathe- 
matics, Anne  Moore,  W.  S,  Hart;  physiography,  Wallace  Atwood;  sanitation, 
Althea  Hanner. 


296  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

for  further  planning.  There  was  for  them  no  danger  of  a  too 
narrow  specialization  in  any  subject,  for  with  such  training 
no  subject  could  be  tightly  boxed  off  from  life.  In  general,  it 
was  felt  that  the  school's  use  of  experimental  and  observational 
science  accomplished  in  some  measure  the  training  of  a  con- 
structive and  inquiring  mind  and  thus  fully  justified  its  place 
in  elementary  education*  The  most  important  result  of  all 
was  that  these  children  felt  no  fear  when  entering  a  new  en- 
vironment or  attacking  a  new  field  of  work. 

SCIENTIFIC  AND  EDUCATIONAL   USE   OF  COOKING 

The  activity  of  cooking  is  in  itself  its  own  reason  for  being. 
It  constantly  furnishes  incentives  to  attempt  new  problems 
and  can,  therefore,  be  used  to  great  advantage  with  children. 
The  choice  of  the  subject-matter  for  cooking  in  the  school 
was  always  in  direct  relation  to  an  occasion  of  great  importance 
to  every  one— the  group  luncheon.  The  occasion  thus  became  a 
natural  opportunity  to  show  hospitality  to  others.  The  motive 
for  each  child's  learning  how  to  cook  was,  therefore,  a  genuinely 
social  one— to  achieve  a  result  which  was  palatable  not  only 
to  himself  but  to  others.  The  clear  proof  of  social  gain  lay 
in  success  as  a  pudding  maker.  Moreover,  because  a  good  pud- 
ding was  a  desideratum  for  all,  a  spirit  of  free  interchange  of 
ideas,  suggestions,  and  results  in  failure  and  success,  imbued 
the  embryo  cooks. 

What  was  cooked  was  always  chosen  with  a  view  to  its  con- 
nection with  the  other  activities  of  the  program.  Cooking 
involved  fundamental  relations  to  the  physical  and  social  en- 
vironment and  gave  a  reason  for  the  study  of  geography,  of 
plants  and  animals.  It  was  the  activity  around  which  the  child 
saw  all  the  simple  social  and  economic  relationships  organize 
and  centralize  themselves  in  his  study  of  primitive  ways  of 
living.  From  a  scientific  point  of  view  also,  cooking  as  the  use 
of  heat  and  water  on  food  and  the  physical  and  chemical 
changes  which  result  proved  a  rich  source  of  material  illustra- 
tive of  the  various  transformations  of  energy  from  sunlight 
to  that  necessary  to  human  needs  and  uses.  In  addition  it  gave 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     297 

unexcelled  opportunities  for  the  use  of  the  experimental 
method.  The  necessary  facts,  technical  skills,  and  ways  of  do- 
ing, charged  with  an  organic  emotional  interest,  were  imbedded 
in  experience  through  continuous  use  in  more  and  more  com- 
plicated operations.  \Vhile  cooking  was  something  the  child 
could  do  in  company  with  others,  through  the  laboratory- 
like  arrangement  of  the  kitchen,  he  was  individually  responsi- 
ble for  the  success  of  his  own  portion,  and  the  social  end  was 
not  permitted  to  overpower  or  befog  his  joy  in  discovery  by 
actual  performance.  Each  time  he  cooked  he  was  guided  to 
find  that  his  method  was  general  to  all  kinds  of  cooking.  This 
method  lay  in  the  order  of  the  technical  steps  or  was  discovered 
in  some  principle,  such  as  solution,  necessary  as  a  means  of  con- 
trol, and  which,  still  later,  he  found  himself  using  in  a  more 
complicated  process.  With  children  of  six,  seven,  and  eight 
years,  the  cooking  of  cereals  was  progressively  educational  in 
so  many  ways  that  it  developed  into  a  continuous  course  of 
study  throughout  these  three  years  with  no  sense  of  monotony 
on  the  part  of  either  pupils  or  teacher.10 

"As  used  in  the  Laboratory  School  the  activity  of  cooking 
supplied  the  child  with  a  genuine  motive  and  the  medium 
for  its  expression;  it  gave  him  a  chance  for  first-hand  experi- 
ence; and  it  brought  him  into  contact  with  realities.  It  did 
all  this,  but  in  addition  it  was  liberalized  throughout  by  transla- 
tion into  its  historic  and  social  values  and  scientific  equivalen- 
cies. With  the  growth  of  the  child's  mind  in  knowledge  and 
power  it  ceases  to  be  a  pleasant  occupation  merely  and  becomes 
more  and  more  a  medium,  an  instrument,  and  an  organ  of 
understanding,  and  is  thereby  transformed." 

Therefore,  cooking  held  a  distinctive  place  in  the  curriculum 
of  the  school.  Its  successful  use  was  primarily  due  to  the  fact 
that  its  program  was  planned  and  directed  by  two  teachers  ia- 
whose  training  in  the  scientific  and  practical  aspects  of  house- 
hold arts  was  coupled  with  wide  teaching  experience.  The 
program  began  in  the  kindergarten,  and  the  work  was  adjusted 
to  the  different  psychological  age  periods.  At  the  end  of  seven 

10  John  Dewey,  The  School  and  Society,  p.  s?o. 

11  Althea  Harmer  and  Katherine  Camp. 


298  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

years  it  was  an  adequate  working  program.  A  complete  series 
of  materials  to  be  used  in  the  program  was  listed,  together 
with  the  accompanying  and  correlating  scientific  experiments 
which  clarified  and  illustrated  the  general  principle  or  process 
central  in  any  lesson.  A  great  help  to  this  success  was  the  fact 
that  some  time  previous  to  this  experiment,  Mrs.  Ellen  H. 
Richards  of  the  Massachusetts'  Institute  of  Technology  had 
worked  out  in  theory  as  well  as  in  practice  what  was  after- 
wards called  "the  free-hand  method  of  teaching  cooking."  This 
method  presupposed  a  knowledge  of  the  constituents  of  food, 
of  the  effect  of  controlled  application  of  heat,  and  of  the 
processes  of  solution  and  fermentation,  which  should  make  any 
housekeeper  independent  of  recipes  and  creative  in  her  cook- 
ing. Through  Pratt  and  Drexel  Institutes,  where  the  teachers 
had  been  trained,  much  information  and  material,  as  well  as 
detailed  results  of  work  with  large  classes  of  older  girls  and 
teachers,  were  available.  In  both,  the  work  had  been  organized 
on  the  technical  side  and  in  its  bearings  on  health,  hygiene, 
dietetics,  and  sanitation.  No  experiments,  however,  with  chil- 
dren of  elementary  age  had  been  made.  The  problem  in  the 
school,  then,  became  one  of  adapting  to  little  children  the 
successful  courses  already  planned  and  in  practical  use  with 
older  girls.  Many  persons  in  the  field  of  household  economics 
were  intensely  interested  in  the  experiment  and  were  most 
generous  with  their  suggestions  and  advice.  The  experience  at 
Pratt  Institute,  especially  in  the  adaptation  of  the  equipment 
to  the  needs  of  younger  children,  can  hardly  be  overestimated. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  the  teacher  of  general  science, 
the  course  in  cooking  afforded  more  opportunity  for  the  de- 
velopment of  the  scientific  method  than  any  other  activity 
carried  on  in  the  school,  with  the  possible  exception  of  garden- 
ing, the  general  geography  of  the  earth  and  atmosphere,  and 
some  of  the  textile  processes.  The  equipment,  although  planned 
with  an  emphasis  upon  economy,  was  complete  and  practical. 
The  cooking  tables  were  of  the  sort  that  could  be  adapted  by 
means  of  stools  to  the  heights  of  the  children. 

The  experience  of  the  first  year  brought  out  certain  points 
on  the  basis  of  which  the  succeeding  year's  experiment  was 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     299 

altered  and  improved.  It  was  found  there  was  no  need  to  stimu- 
late the  child's  interest  by  allowing  him  to  choose  the  particular 
things  to  be  cooked.  Some  of  the  things  attempted  were  beyond 
the  technical  capacities  of  the  children  to  realize.  It  is  diffi- 
cult for  one  who  has  not  shared  such  an  experiment  to  ap- 
preciate how  great  is  a  child's  interest  in  the  simplest  processes 
in  the  preparation  of  food,  and  how  keen  is  his  observation  of 
them.  Even  the  ordinary  preparation  of  food,  however,  proved 
so  complicated  that  it  was  necessary  in  the  succeeding  years  to 
progressively  simplify  the  things  which  each  child  did  in  order 
to  preserve  in  him  a  sense  of  an  effective  control  of  the  process. 

During  the  first  three  years  the  cooking  was  done  as  far  as 
the  child  consciousness  was  concerned  for  the  sake  of  the  im- 
mediate product  or  end.  The  children  prepared  some  one  thing, 
each  child  contributing  his  proportion  to  the  whole.  In  this 
way  each  felt  the  responsibility  of  the  result  not  only  for  him- 
self but  for  the  whole  class,  so  that  the  social  end  reinforced 
the  immediate  one.  This  interest  in  the  immediate  result  so 
overshadowed  the  steps  in  the  processes  he  was  watching  that 
very  little  use  could  be  made,  from  a  scientific  point  of  view, 
of  the  important  physical  and  chemical  changes  going  on. 
Observation  was  incidental  to  securing  good  results,  and  the 
reasons  for  certain  indications  received  little  attention  until 
after  the  first  year  and  a  half,  when  a  few  general  principles 
were  worked  out  while  the  actual  cooking  was  going  on.  The 
children  during  this  period  spent  most  of  their  time  in  "sci- 
ence" work  on  the  materials  used  in  cooking. 

Somewhere  between  the  ages  of  eight  and  ten  a  change  in 
the  interest  takes  place,  and  the  thing  is  done  with  more  con- 
scious reference  to  technique  and  to  what  might  be  termed 
the  intellectual  side.  The  child  comes  to  see  that  if  he  un- 
derstands the  reasons  for  what  he  is  doing,  he  can  carry 
on  a  number  of  other  operations  of  the  same  general  class. 
This  made  necessary  a  change  in  the  way  in  which  the  work 
was  given.  Even  the  simplest  operation  in  cooking  has  so  many 
conditions  that  it  is  impossible  for  the  child  to  select  those 
bringing  about  a  certain  result  that  is  important  for  him.  So 
at  this  stage  simple  experiments  were  introduced  where  con- 


3oo  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

ditions  were  so  controlled  that  he  was  able  to  draw  a  needed 
inference  and  get  hold  of  a  general  principle.  For  example, 
the  effect  of  heat  on  albumen  was  worked  out  by  first  finding 
out  the  way  in  which  the  temperature  of  the  water  could  be 
determined  from  its  appearance— thus  were  worked  out  the 
scalding,  simmering,  and  boiling  points.  The  next  step  was  to 
subject  a  little  white  of  egg  to  each  temperature  for  varying 
lengths  of  time— drawing  thence  such  inferences  as  the  fol- 
lowing: "The  egg  albumen  had  a  very  few  threads  in  it  at 
140,  at  160  it  is  jelly-like,  and  at  212  it  is  tough,"  "When 
albumen  is  boiling,  it  is  very  hard,  and  at  simmering,  it  is  very 
nice  and  tender/'  After  these  underlying  principles  were 
grasped,  the  work  became  more  deductive,  so  to  speak.  It  was 
treated  more  as  applied  science.  Extracts  from  a  simple  clear 
account  of  the  way  this  course  was  taught,  written  by  the 
teacher  who  was  mainly  responsible  for  its  success  follow: 12 

For  the  youngest  children  foods  such  as  cereals  and  fruits  were 
selected  since  these  required  the  simplest  preparation  and  little 
variation  in  the  manipulation  of  materials.  The  children's  real  in- 
terest was  in  the  active  work,  the  luncheon  which  they  prepared 
and  served,  after  receiving  careful  direction  either  in  words  or  by 
demonstration.  The  value  of  the  work  was  in  the  nice  handling  and 
careful  use  of  materials  and  in  the  forming  of  habits  of  neatness 
and  order.  All  this  helped  to  create  order  not  only  in  doing  things 
of  a  practical  nature,  but  also  in  their  thinking  and  planning.  It 
was  similar  to  the  organized  play  of  the  kindergarten  in  its  influence 
on  the  social  organization  of  the  group.  The  observations  made 
during  the  progress  of  the  work  were  valuable  as  emphasizing  a 
few  regularly  recurring  phenomena. 

In  the  interests  of  simplicity,  part  of  the  luncheons  were  brought 
from  home  in  the  form  of  sandwiches,  and  a  drink  of  hot  dilute 
cocoa  was  generally  served.  The  clearing  away  and  dishwashing 
were  as  much  enjoyed  as  any  other  part  of  the  process.  This  once-a- 
week  school  luncheon  was  the  result  of  dose  cooperation  of  the 
parents  with  the  teacher.  In  this  way  the  lacking  vegetables  and 
meat  were  supplemented  at  home  on  these  days. 

The  cooking  had  particular  educational  value  for  the  younger 
children  in  giving  opportunity  for  individual  work,  initiative,  and 


"Althea   Harmer,   "Elementary  Cooking  in  the  Laboratory  School," 
The  Elementary  School  Teacher,  Vol.  Ill,  No.  10,  1903, 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      301 

independence.  It  also  called  for  group  work  and  encouraged  a 
spirit  of  helpfulness  and  nice  adjustment  of  personalities  to  the 
work  of  the  group  as  a  whole.  It  made  an  appeal  to  children  which 
was  immediate  and  direct  and  was  of  such  a  nature  that  it  could 
be  arranged  in  orderly  sequence.  Beginning  with  the  simple  prep- 
aration of  food  to  be  served  for  luncheon,  the  children  became  in- 
terested in  the  material  used  and  in  the  processes  involved  in  the 
preparation  of  these  materials.  This  made  it  possible  to  introduce 
simple  experiments  previous  to  the  cooking  and  enabled  them  to 
work  out  the  formulae  and  steps  used  in  the  preparation  of  the 
food.  The  logical  sequence  of  this  work  formed  simple  and  direct 
habits  of  thinking  and  acting.  These  were  built  upon  and  developed 
in  later  work  where  processes  were  more  involved,  where  the  inter- 
action of  the  work  among  the  children  required  a  finer  adjustment 
of  each  individual  to  the  social  life  of  the  group. 

The  work  as  given  to  six-year-old  children  changed  somewhat  in 
character  as  regards  the  manner  of  its  presentation.  This  change  was 
in  accord  with  the  corresponding  change  in  the  attitude  of  the  chil- 
dren. The  materials  were  the  same,  that  is,  cereals  and  fruits.  Grains 
were  selected  on  account  of  then*  relation  to  the  course  on  Present 
Occupations,  which  began  with  the  study  of  a  typical  grain  farm. 
The  interest  in  the  cooking  started  with  the  desire  the  child  has  to 
carry  further  the  work  of  the  farmer  and  the  miller  and  follow  the 
food  from  its  preparation  to  its  final  use.  The  grains  also  furnished 
the  simplest  illustration  of  the  effect  of  heat  and  water  on  the 
starch  and  cellulose  in  preparing  them  for  digestion. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  cooking  period  the  class  with  the  teacher 
gathered  in  a  semi-circle  at  a  blackboard.  The  various  preparations 
of  cereals  were  examined,  and  the  methods  of  preparation  con- 
sidered. By  means  of  actual  experiments  the  children  compared  the 
different  preparations  as  to  difference  in  time  required  for  their 
cooking.  The  reasons  for  this  difference  were  developed.  In  cooking 
each  preparation  they  worked  out  some  new  point  in  the  applica- 
tion of  heat  and  water.  The  work  started  with  the  simplest  use  of 
fire  and  water  and  their  effect  on  the  starch  granules  of  the  cereal 
grain.  The  points  brought  out  were  the  effect  of  the  mechanical 
breaking  up  of  the  cellulose  and  of  water  on  the  starch  granules, 
so  that  mastication,  taste,  and  all  other  processes  of  digestion  were 
more  easily  accomplished.  The  idea  that  grinding  the  grains  shortens 
the  process  of  cooking  was  then  introduced.  Experiments  were  made 
to  show  in  a  general  way  the  composition  of  the  grain,  the  differ- 
ence in  the  relative  amounts  of  starch  and  cellulose  in  the  various 
grains,  and  the  different  preparations  of  grain  found  in  the  market, 
such  as  the  hulled,  cracked,  ground,  or  flaked  varieties. 

Fruits  and  vegetables  were  selected  the  following  year  because 


3os>  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  problems  involved  in  their  preparation  grew  naturally  out  of 
the  material  as  used.  From  experiments  suggested  by  actual  work 
and  formulated  in  class  discussion,  the  children  were  led  to  solu- 
tions of  the  problems  as  they  arose. 

The  starch  and  cellulose  found  in  the  cereals  studied  the 
previous  year  were  now  found  in  varying  conditions  in  fruits 
and  vegetables.  The  value  of  water  as  a  food  constituent  was 
brought  out,  as  were  the  flavoring  principles,  such  as  the  es- 
sential oils,  vegetable  acids,  sugar,  and  mineral  salts.  These 
were  considered,  o£  course,  with  the  younger  children  more  in 
the  part  they  have  in  giving  character  and  flavor  to  the  veg- 
etable than  in  any  nutritive  value  they  possess. 

In  the  experiments  made  in  this  year  the  interest  was  in 
seeing  what  happened  and  in  making  discoveries.  The  purpose 
of  the  experiment  was  often  lost  in  the  interest  of  the  im- 
mediate program.  Therefore  the  connection  was  made  by  the 
teacher  between  the  purpose  of  the  experiment  and  the  problem 
to  be  solved.  Though  only  a  phase  of  the  work,  this  formed 
a  new  problem  for  the  children.  For  example,  the  potato  was 
to  be  cooked.  The  child  was  led  to  compare  it  with  the  cereals 
previously  studied.  This  led  to  an  analysis  of  the  potato  which 
completely  engrossed  him  for  the  time  being.  After  he  had  dis- 
covered all  he  could  about  the  potato,  he  was  thrown  back  to 
the  original  problem  of  how  to  cook  it.  This  at  once  called 
for  an  application  of  the  facts  discovered  in  the  experiments. 
The  fact  that  such  experimentation  was  continuous  through- 
out the  year,  and  that  results  were  always  made  use  of  to  some 
practical  end,  gave  added  value  to  each  experiment.  Each  be- 
came part  of  a  larger  whole.  The  original  problem  thus  grew 
larger  and  showed  many  sides. 

In  these  practical  activities  the  child  also  came  to  have  some 
idea  of  the  real  value  of  number.  He  used  parts  of  a  cup,  as 
units;  he  then  got  the  relation  of  these  units  to  a  larger  whole; 
and  he  began  to  have  an  idea  of  simple  fractions.  From  the 
manipulation  of  materials,  and  comparison  of  these  by  weight 
and  measure,  he  got,  in  a  concrete  way,  a  definite  idea  of  pro- 
portion which  later  on  was  made  use  of  in  his  study  of  ab- 
stract number.  In  connection  with  the  balancing  of  the  grains 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      303 

to  obtain  the  amount  of  water  required  by  each,  recipes  were 
made  for  their  cooking.  He  discovered  the  practical  importance 
of  the  recipe:  just  what  it  is  used  for,  namely,  to  give  the  ma- 
terials and  quantities  required. 

In  connection  with  the  history  the  children  took  up  primi- 
tive modes  of  cooking  out-of-doors.  In  this  connection  they 
considered  primitive  methods  of  applying  of  heat,  such  as 
roasting  in  hot  ashes,  on  hot  metal  or  stones,  boiling  by  means 
of  hot  stones  in  water  or  buried  in  the  ground.  The  children 
had  two  or  three  primitive  feasts  where  they  cooked  potatoes, 
corn,  apples,  chestnuts,  and  some  sort  of  meat.  Application  of 
heat  under  these  new  conditions  served  as  an  occasion  for  the 
child  to  abstract  the  principle  he  had  been  using  in  connec- 
tion with  modern  methods  and  apparatus.  This  abstraction 
was  a  necessary  step  in  the  control  of  the  primitive  fireplace. 

With  the  older  children  the  preparation  and  cooking  of 
proteins  was  taken  up.  The  cooking  of  eggs,  meats,  and  fish 
was  followed  by  a  review  of  the  milk  and  vegetable  soups  and 
was  concluded  with  the  preparation  of  batters  and  doughs  by 
means  of  the  various  raising  agents. 

During  1898-1899  and  1899-1900,  the  cooking  program  de- 
veloped to  such  an  extent  that  the  practical  work  was  turned 
over  to  an  assistant.13  The  attention  of  the  directing  teacher  was 
then  devoted  to  relating  the  processes  of  cooking  to  physiology 
and  especially  to  nutrition  and  hygiene.  This  course  was  with 
the  older  children  and,  in  its  experimental  approach,  was  de- 
veloped and  carried  on  with  the  collaboration  of  the  science 
teachers. 

Since  experience  showed  that  cooking  was  the  activity  in 
which  the  children  most  easily  learned  the  use  of  the  scientific 
method,  a  detailed  account  of  the  way  they  thought  through 
for  themselves  the  necessary  steps  in  their  daily  procedure  fol- 
lows. At  the  beginning  of  a  lesson  the  proper  utensils  were 
gotten  out  and  arranged  in  order  of  use  and  suitability  to  the 
cooking  to  be  done.  Then,  with  a  view  to  softening  and  de- 
veloping the  flavor  of  the  grain  cooked,  they  developed,  by 


is  Mary  Tough. 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

discussion,  the  relation  of  amount  or  mass  cooked  to  the  unit 
of  liquid  needed,  and  of  the  form  of  cereal  to  the  time  re- 
quired. Next,  through  measuring  and  weighing,  volume  and 
mass,  or  bulk,  became  practical  working  conceptions.  It  was 
phrased  thus  by  one  of  the  children:  "We  took  two  cups  of 
flaked  rice  to  one  cup  of  water  because  it  is  so  light;  one- 
quarter  a  cup  of  whole  rice  takes  one  cup  of  water."  Then 
they  learned  to  distinguish  between  the  different  factors  which 
controlled  the  amount  of  water  needed,  the  length  of  time  for 
cooking,  the  extent  of  surface  of  pan  exposed  to  air,  and  the 
amount  of  heat  to  be  applied.  Each  member  of  the  group 
followed  a  different  way  of  preparing  the  same  food.  The  vari- 
able factors  were  thus  sifted  out.  In  one  case  this  would  be  the 
amount  of  water,  in  another  the  character  of  the  cereal,  or  in 
another  the  way  of  applying  heat  In  all  the  type  of  utensil 
was  kept  the  same. 

The  technical  sequence  was  worked  out  by  the  children  as 
a  group.  Individual  variations  from  the  group  plan  were  made 
by  original  children  and  were  recognized  and  welcomed  by 
both  teacher  and  children.  Group  discussion  clarified  the  part 
each  one  took  in  the  experimental  process.  The  class  was  held 
as  a  group  until  each  individual  felt  confident  that  he  knew 
what  to  do.  It  was  found  by  observation  of  the  teachers  that 
with  the  younger  children,  attitude  and  expression  indicated 
when  the  moment  had  come  to  cut  short  the  talking  and  pro- 
ceed to  work.  With  the  older  children,  the  interest  in  the  form 
of  expressing  what  they  were  about  to  undertake  increased  very 
rapidly  as  they  became  more  and  more  conscious  of  the  need 
for  clarity  of  method  in  recording  the  results  of  their  experi- 
mental work.  Perfectness  of  detail  came  first  in  acquiring  the 
technique  of  procedure.  This  was  the  same  in  all  classes.  For 
example,  two  small  boys  worked  out  a  cooperative  scheme  of 
work  which  enabled  them,  through  elimination  of  useless  mo- 
tions and  combination  of  effort,  to  finish  ten  to  fifteen  minutes 
ahead  of  the  others.  This  time  they  proceeded  to  use  either 
in  writing  up  what  they  had  done,  or  in  acquiring  skill  in 
number  work  in  which  they  felt  themselves  deficient 

The  teacher's  part  was  to  answer  questions  and  by  a  skilful 


2 

2 


5 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      305 

refreshing  of  the  children's  memories  to  insure  that  plans  for 
the  day  were  workable  and  also  different  enough  in  character 
to  furnish  a  new  experience  involving  a  problem  for  the  group. 
This  was  only  possible  when  the  teacher's  experience  already 
held  in  conscious  readiness  the  general  principles  underlying 
the  course.  She  shared  the  enterprise  of  discovery  with  the  child. 
She  functioned  in  bringing  together  various  results  and  in  as- 
sisting the  children  to  trace  back  effects  to  causes.  She  thus 
helped  each  child  to  become  conscious  of  the  general  principles, 
however  concretely  stated,  resulting  from  their  combined  ef- 
forts. 

This  more  or  less  uniform  plan  of  classroom  procedure  de- 
veloped into  a  method  during  the  second  year  of  the  school. 
The  time  given  to  cooking  varied  from  one  and  a  half  to  two 
hours  a  week.  The  period  was  always  divided  into  two  parts, 
a  half-hour  of  which  was  spent  in  planning  and  experimenta- 
tion. With  the  younger  children,  this  half-hour  was  on  the 
same  day  as  the  luncheon  and  just  before  it.  With  the  older 
children,  especially  toward  the  end  of  each  three  months,  the 
period  was  used  for  formulation  of  the  principles  of  cooking, 
which  served  as  a  practical  review  of  the  quarter's  work.  The 
luncheon  was  never  omitted  with  children  under  eleven  or 
twelve. 

In  the  four  older  groups  the  care  and  serving  of  the  table 
was  assigned  individually,  strict  rotation  being  observed,  as 
the  privilege  of  inviting  guests  was  a  part  of  this  duty.  It  was 
found  that  children  of  six  and  under  rarely  have  ability  to 
converse  freely  at  a  table  of  eight  or  ten,  so  that  very  often  a 
story  was  told  during  lunch  by  the  teacher  or  visiting  guests. 

One  of  the  outstanding  results  of  the  experience  with  the 
cooking  program  was  its  value  in  teaching  even  the  youngest 
children  to  use  fractional  parts  as  easily  and  intelligently  as 
they  did  whole  numbers.  Supplemented  as  it  was  by  the  use 
of  the  fractional  parts  of  the  foot  and  yard  in  their  other  con- 
structive activities,  this  work  seemed  to  furnish  the  needed 
concrete  experience  in  multiplication  and  division  of  whole 
numbers  and  fractions.  Because  it  was  important  to  use  a 
third  of  a  cup  instead  of  a  fourth,  in  order  to  get  more  to  eat, 


3o6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

there  was  no  muddle  or  confusion  in  the  child's  mind  as  to 
which  fraction  was  the  larger.  It  was  easy  to  understand  that 
if  each  child  needed  a  third  of  a  cup  of  cereal,  twelve  children 
would  need  four  cups.  The  use  of  arithmetical  symbols  as  the 
way  of  putting  this  down  for  future  reference  became  natural 
and  easy. 

The  questions  of  marketing  and  keeping  accounts  were  fre- 
quently discussed.  Because  of  the  isolated  position  of  the  school 
little  of  this  work  was  done  except  as  children  nine,  ten,  and 
eleven  helped  keep  the  school  accounts  and  so  covered  the  cost 
of  the  food  for  the  cooking.  The  children  of  this  school  were 
not  cut  off  from  shopping  experience  at  home.  With  children 
who  lack  such  experience  because  of  their  method  of  living, 
it  would  seem  that  it  might  profitably  be  made  a  part  of  the 
teaching  program. 

Cooking  involves  a  series  of  such  more  or  less  complex  proc- 
esses that  it  was  often  difficult  to  enable  the  youngest  children 
to  develop  independence  and  initiative  in  their  laboratory 
periods  for  they  were  apt  to  become  far  too  dependent  on  direc- 
tion. The  children  in  consequence  were  held  to  a  persistent 
use  of  general  principles  in  all  their  preparation  of  food  and 
cooking.  Additional  experiments  were  made  which  illustrated 
the  kind  of  processes  used  and  the  fact  that  the  amount  of  time 
needed  for  cooking  any  food  was  dependent  upon  its  nature. 
They  were  taught  for  example  the  coagulation  of  albumen, 
the  character  of  cellulose  and  why  it  should  be  softened,  and 
how  the  flavor  of  food  can  be  developed.  This  rendered  the 
children  confident  when  confronted  with  the  cooking  of  un- 
known foods.  They  knew  how  to  discover  just  how  tough 
cellulose  of  the  new  food  was  and  the  approximate  amount  of 
starch  in  it  or  of  albumen.  They  were  able  to  judge  whether 
the  food  was  to  be  used  for  flavor,  for  roughage,  or  as  a  source 
of  energy.  They  knew  the  fundamental  proportions  for  batters 
and  doughs  of  different  consistencies  and  their  relation  to  the 
•different  raising  agencies.  Such  daily  experience  freed  them 
from  a  helpless  dependency  on  recipes,  which  teaching  in 
cooking  often  gives.  When  one  knows  how  much  baking 
powder  the  use  of  one  egg  replaces,  cakes  are  no  mystery. 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS      307 

When  one  knows  that  the  principle  of  making  white  sauce 
depends  on  the  separation  of  the  grains  of  starch  by  the  proper 
method,  that  thorough  mixing  and  an  even  heat  will  prevent 
the  formation  of  lumps,  and  that  the  addition  of  one  third 
of  the  total  quantity  of  liquid  needed  insures  the  uniform 
quality  of  the  product,  lumpy  gravy  and  soups  never  appear 
on  the  menu. 

To  those  who  saw  the  alert  and  vital  interest  of  these  younger 
children  in  this  activity  the  lack  of  attention  and  the  usual 
bored  attitude  of  adult  or  college  students  in  household  eco- 
nomics, even  when  taught  by  an  expert  chemist,  stood  out  in 
great  contrast.  It  is  probable  that  the  college  teacher  would  not 
find  so  many  inhibitions  and  would  be  able  to  carry  her  ideal 
of  research  in  cookery  further,  had  her  students  had  an  ele- 
mentary experience  such  as  that  of  the  children  in  this  school. 

To  see  a  class  of  eight-year-old  children  produce  perfect 
omelets,  using  small  covered  sheet-iron  saucepans  over  gas 
burners  was  a  revelation  of  what  experimental  work  could  do 
to  curb  the  natural  desire  to  poke  in  and  see  what  is  happening. 
They  had  seen  what  happened  in  class  test,  and  their  confidence 
in  the  control  of  the  heat  and  knowledge  of  the  correct  length 
of  time  gave  them  success  in  practical  application.  No  failure 
was  ever  passed  by  or  covered  up.  It  was  critically  reviewed  to 
ascertain  what  conditions  had  affected  the  result.  Endowed 
with  an  unusual  combination  of  scientific  and  intellectual  ap- 
preciation and  an  artistic  temperament  the  teacher,  who  car- 
ried this  course  to  its  completion,  was  able  to  give  the  children 
an  unconscious  feeling  for  the  artistic  side  of  preparing  and 
serving  food  and  high  ideals  of  efficiency  in  planning  and 
handling  utensils. 

The  pressure  of  college  preparatory  examinations  made 
it  necessary  to  eliminate  from  the  program  of  the  older  chil- 
dren the  course  that  had  been  planned  for  them  in  the  less 
used  techniques  of  cooking.  Some  of  the  children,  however, 
worked  these  out  at  home  and  became  experts  in  the  prepara- 
tion of  certain  foods.  Almost  all  of  the  children  used  what 
they  had  learned  with  great  pride  and  joy  in  the  preparation 
of  Sunday  night  suppers  for  the  family.  The  preparation  and 


3o8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

servring  of  luncheons  for  distinguished  visitors  went  through 
very  successfully.  The  reports  from  the  alumnae  indicate  that 
the  understanding  and  use  of  cooking  principles  culminated 
in  surety,  dexterity,  and  confidence  in  meeting  the  demands  of 
adult  life.  This  was  especially  true  of  the  two  older  classes  who 
had  been  six  or  seven  years  in  the  school. 


MATHEMATICS 

Because  of  the  fundamental  character  of  mathematical  sci- 
ence the  development  of  that  tool  was  one  of  the  main  con- 
cerns of  the  planners  of  the  school's  curriculum.  During  the 
first  stages  and  the  transitional  years  the  problem  was  to  see 
that  the  children  had  appropriately  simple  occasions  to  use 
number  so  that  they  saw  in  it  a  way  to  get  order  and  effective- 
ness into  their  occupations,  whether  games  or  constructions. 
Measuring  of  all  kinds  played  its  part.  It  was  never  assumed 
that  mathematics  can  be  so  developed  as  to  control  social  situa- 
tions, for  mathematical  expressions  are  only  of  use  as  formal 
tools  in  a  special  limited  kind  of  experience.  Hence  number 
is  discussed  not  primarily  as  one  of  the  sciences  but  as  a  form 
of  communication  (see  Chapter  XVII).  In  Chapter  XVII  also 
is  the  account  of  how  some  children  with  this  practical  back- 
ground were  able  to  think  out,  to  express  fundamental  mathe- 
matical relations  such  as  ratio  and  proportion  and  to  use 
freely  algebraic  symbols  and  geometric  construction. 

SUMMARY 

The  development  of  the  ability  to  plan  ahead,  to  test,  to 
evaluate  results,  and  to  deduce  from  them  the  help  needed 
for  future  action  or  testing  became  fully  conscious  in  only  a 
few  classes,  and  in  these  not  with  all  the  children.  However, 
the  mental  attitude  of  being  objective  in  sizing  up  a  prob- 
lem, a  willingness  to  try  to  see  and  ability  to  direct  that  seeing 
effectively  was  so  characteristic  of  the  majority  of  the  children 
who  had  been  in  the  school  for  five  years  that  this  result  seemed 
to  fulfil  the  hopes  with  which  the  science  work  had  been 


DEVELOPING  SCIENTIFIC  CONCEPTS     309 

planned.  The  general  use  of  the  scientific  method  in  all  lines 
of  the  school  work  had  exceeded  the  early  expectations.  While 
the  fields  of  future  experimentations  have  been  barely  indi- 
cated, there  is  hope  that  the  present  crisis  will  induce  educators 
to  experiment  scientifically  in  socially  cooperative  schools. 

Sharing  in  planning  was  the  secret  of  the  successfully  social 
spirit  of  this  school  community.  Social  experiments  must  be 
planned.  All  concerned  must  enter  into  the  planning  to  insure 
the  success  of  any  social  undertaking,  and  all  must  accept  their 
plan  as  tentative,  to  be  tested  by  events.  Only  in  this  open- 
minded  cooperative  spirit  can  groups  of  individuals  meet  the 
problems  of  the  shifting  scene  so  as  to  insure  the  continuity  and 
therefore  the  security  of  experience.  Were  the  present  Home- 
stead experiments  animated  by  the  same  spirit  of  cooperative 
adventure  in  the  field  of  social  living  as  was  this  school  of  some 
thirty  years  ago,  there  would  be  hope  of  an  ever-increasing 
number  of  genuine  indigenous  communities,  gaining  social  se- 
curity through  cooperation. 


CHAPTER    XVI 

EXPERIMENTAL     ACTIVITIES 
DEVELOPING     ORIGINS     AND     BACK- 
GROUNDS    OF     SOCIAL     LIFE 


A,    GEOGRAPHY  AND   HISTORY 

JL  HE  familiar  social  activities  of  the  child's  present,  and  the 
attendant  manual  arts,  with  their  tools  and  materials,  served 
in  the  school  as  a  natural  introduction  to  history  and  geog- 
raphy, projecting  and  ramifying  into  these  so  inevitably  that 
it  only  remained  for  the  teacher  to  be  alert  to  these  connec- 
tions and  to  take  advantage  of  them.  The  factors  in  living 
and  the  way  they  function  always  interest  a  child,  regardless 
of  time  or  place.  In  the  school  the  ways  of  extending  these 
interests  and  of  linking  them  with  the  larger  world  of  the  past 
were  through  familiar  activities  and  tools.  Tools  and  materials, 
the  wood  and  clay,  the  needle  and  cloth,  and  the  processes  by 
which  these  are  manipulated,  were  used  to  initiate  the  child 
into  the  typical  problems  which  had  required  human  eEort, 
into  the  laws  of  human  production  and  achievement,  and  into 
the  methods  by  which  man  gained  control  of  nature  and  made 
his  ideals  into  the  good  realities  of  life. 

The  child  himself  often  made  the  process  of  transition  from 
the  present  to  the  past  an  easy  one.  With  something  of  the 
intuition  of  a  true  scientist  he  frequently  chose  an  ancient 
method  of  historical  approach  and  solved  the  problem  of  how 
to  begin  his  study  with  "Let's  pretend/'  The  group  of  present- 
day  farmers,  miners,  woodsmen,  cooks  or  garment  makers, 
craftsmen  or  artists,  sprang  with  the  nimbleness  of  childhood 
out  of  the  present  complicated  and  dimly  understood  ways  of 
present-day  living  into  the  ultra  simplicity  of  the  past,  with 

510 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          311 

its  few  and  crude  ways  of  meeting  the  same  primal  needs.  It 
was  not  a  dead  past  to  them;  they  revived  it  by  reliving  it. 

The  little  farmers  found  that  as  primitive  people  they  were 
hunters  first  or  wandering  tribes  of  herdsmen.  Their  interests 
were  in  the  way  they  could  get  food,  the  weapons  and  tools 
they  would  be  likely  to  use,  the  new  inventions  they  made,  and 
the  transformations  in  life  that  arose  from  the  powers  and 
leisure  thus  gained.  Each  child  was  eager  to  remake  utensils, 
to  reproduce  processes,  to  rehandle  materials.  He  appreciated 
in  a  measure  the  situations  of  these  ancient  peoples  and  vaguely 
understood  their  problems  and  their  successes  only  because 
out  of  the  reality  of  his  own  experience  he  could  picture  their 
difficulties  and  imagine  the  resources  of  their  natural  habitat. 
Out  of  this  new  play  springs  a  new  interest  in  the  fields  and 
the  forests,  the  mountains,  the  ocean,  the  plants,  the  animals 
about  him.  He  uses  his  limited  knowledge  of  the  natural  forces 
and  forms  with  which  he  himself  is  surrounded  to  build  up 
and  reproduce  a  conception  of  the  habitat  of  the  people  he  is 
studying.  Their  problems  became  his  problems  for  which  he 
must  find  solutions,  and  the  story  of  man— what  he  did,  where, 
and  how  he  did  it  in  increasingly  better  ways,  what  he  invented, 
where  he  traveled,  and  what  he  discovered— became  real  and 
worthy.  The  tale  of  how  things,  as  they  are,  came  to  be,  helped 
him  to  understand  that  the  problem  of  how  to  live  is  the 
problem  of  all  time. 

Place  by  place,  also,  the  earth  came  to  be  viewed  by  the 
child  as  the  home  of  man,  in  which  he  has  struggled  with  un- 
toward conditions  and  overcome  obstacles  in  a  long  upward 
climb.  A  child's  own  social  world  is  so  rich  and  full  that  it 
is  not  easy  for  him  to  see  how  much  it  cost,  how  much  effort 
and  thought  lie  back  of  it.  Through  a  study  of  primitive  living, 
however,  he  sees  man  face  to  face  with  nature,  without  tools, 
without  manufactured  materials.  Step  by  step  he  follows  the 
processes  by  which  man  recognized  his  needs  and  how  to  cope 
with  them,  and  learns  how  new  resources  open  new  interests 
and  bring  new  problems. 

The  child  sees  life  as  a  whole  in  terms  of  its  fundamental 
needs,  its  simple  relationships,  its  pure  satisfactions.  The  point 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  view  of  the  teacher,  however,  is  through  the  bifocal  lens  of 
training  and  of  adult  experience.  There  is  constant  need  for 
her  to  be  agile  in  her  change  from  one  to  the  other.  At  any 
moment  of  her  teaching  she  must  lift  her  head  for  far-sighted 
vision.  Like  Alice,  she  must  step  with  her  children  behind  the 
looking  glass  and  in  this  imaginative  land  she  must  see  all 
things  with  their  eyes  and  limited  by  their  experience;  but, 
in  time  of  need,  she  must  be  able  to  recover  her  trained  vision 
and  from  the  realistic  point  of  view  of  an  adult  supply  the 
guide  posts  of  knowledge  and  the  skills  of  method. 

It  was  essential,  therefore,  in  this  school  that  a  teacher,  what- 
ever her  specialty,  should  have  had  the  fertile  life  experience 
that  is  the  result  of  experimental  living  guided  by  intelligent 
thinking.  Thus  while  she  saw  history  from  the  psychological 
point  of  view  of  the  child  as  the  story  of  man,  working  on  and 
changing  his  environment,  from  the  point  of  view  of  a  trained 
teacher  she  saw  it  as  the  classified  facts  o£  history  or  science. 
From  the  child's  viewpoint  she  selected  material  concerned 
with  the  lives  of  persons  or  races  who  did  interesting  things 
that  led  to  still  more  interesting  and  helpful  living.  Such 
selection  oftentimes,  especially  during  the  years  of  the  ele- 
mentary period,  did  not  coincide  with  the  chronological  ar- 
rangement of  a  curriculum  chosen  by  a  disciple  of  the  older 
school  of  learning.  A  teacher  who  held  that  the  end  in  view 
was  to  give  the  child,  at  an  early  age,  an  understanding  of 
character  and  social  relationships  in  their  natural  dependence, 
found  it  impossible  to  follow  the  development  of  civilization 
through  the  successive  steps  in  which  it  actually  took  place. 
The  chronological  order  in  historical  instruction  is  logical  to 
the  adult  mind,  but  because  of  its  complexity  and  remoteness, 
is  alien  to  the  interests  and  understanding  of  a  child.  Experi- 
ment indicated  that  the  young  child's  interest  is  much  closer  in 
spirit  and  understanding  to  the  typical  conditions,  activities, 
and  relations  of  the  social  life  of  a  prehistoric  people  than  to 
the  complicated  and  artificial  life  of  ancient  Babylon  or  of 
Egypt. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          313 

THE  CHILD'S  INTEREST  IN  PRIMITIVE  LIFE 

The  history  of  this  early  period— anthropology— was,  there- 
fore, indirect  sociology—a  study  of  the  occupations  of  men  as 
affecting  intellectual  growth  and  social  advancement.  It  was 
believed,  and  the  results  justified  such  a  belief,  that  in  such  a 
study  the  child  would  find  a  key  to  unlock  the  meanings  of 
his  present  complicated  social  life.  He  would  also  discover 
the  method  of  progressive  living.  As  the  children  relived  the 
drama  of  early  man's  active  occupations,  they  found  that  he 
always  learned  by  doing.  His  method  was  a  trial-and-error  one 
in  the  beginning.  Then,  by  intelligent  experimenting,  he  dis- 
covered, he  invented,  and  brought  to  bear  contrivances  of  his 
own  fashioning  upon  his  physical  environment.  What  better 
introduction  to  the  experimental  method  could  any  child  have 
than  that  of  the  first  discoveries  of  the  power  of  mind  over  mat- 
ter? As  a  child  of  this  school  he  relived  the  activities  of  primi- 
tive days,  he  was  introduced  to  much  scientific  truth  and  un- 
consciously absorbed  a  method  which  increased  his  intellectual 
constructiveness.  As  he  approached  maturity  he  came  to  see 
how  all  the  sciences  have  developed  gradually  out  of  the  occupa- 
tions of  living;  and  this  is  also  true  of  the  social  sciences.  The 
child  realized,  out  of  his  own  experience,  as  he  followed  both 
actually  and  vicariously  the  story  of  man's  climb  on  the  ladder 
of  living,  how  all  the  various  activities  in  industrial  occupa- 
tions have  developed  from  the  simple  to  the  complex.  He  fol- 
lowed the  wool  from  the  sheep  to  the  nig,  patiently  contriving 
his  own  spindle,  his  own  dye,  his  own  loom:  when  older,  he  re- 
viewed the  same  process  more  carefully  in  the  developing  in- 
dustries of  Colonial  days.  He  saw,  that  while  successive  inven- 
tions of  machines  have  led  to  the  eventual  betterment  of  social 
life,  the  immediate  results  have  often  been  at  the  bitter  cost 
of  the  discarded  hand-worker  whose  plight  illustrates  an  ever- 
present  social  problem  caused  by  technological  advance.  In- 
dustrial history  thus  taught  on  a  background  of  actual  experi- 
ence with  materials  and  processes  will  always  have  more  than 
a  materialistic  or  merely  utilitarian  meaning.  For  the  children 
of  this  school  it  carried  many  social  and  moral  implications 


314  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

of  unsolved  problems  of  human  relationships.  Thus  taught, 
the  history  of  work  becomes  the  record  of  how  man  learned  to 
think,  to  think  to  some  effect,  to  transform  the  conditions  of 
life  so  that  life  itself  became  a  different  and  less  tortured  thing 
and  gradually  took  on,  for  some  at  least,  comfort  and  beauty. 
Here,  for  all  thinking  and  socially  minded  persons,  logically 
follows  the  goading  query— Why  not  comfort  and  beauty  for 
all? 

History,  thus  educationally  considered,  was  for  these  chil- 
dren a  study  of  society  which  lays  bare  its  process  of  becoming, 
and  its  modes  of  organization.  In  primitive  living  social  rela- 
tionships and  organizations  are  reduced  to  their  simplest  terms. 
The  quality  of  an  individual  or  the  value  of  an  act  stands  out 
clearly  in  a  situation.  A  child  can  see  in  imagination  the  forces 
which  favor  and  permit  men's  effective  cooperation  with  one 
another,  can  recognize  the  sorts  of  character  that  help  on  or 
hold  back,  can  appreciate  the  motives  which  draw  men  together 
or  push  them  apart,  and  understand  that  quality  of  character 
is  the  same  now  as  then.  The  organization  of  the  tribe  is  plain 
to  a  child.  He  sees  that  every  one  must  live,  and  that  the  life 
of  the  group  is  dependent  upon  its  members.  The  law  of  in- 
dividual right  and  social  justice  is  simple  and  clear.  To  most 
of  the  pupils,  studying  as  a  group  about  cooperative  living, 
a  social  way  came  to  mean  the  right  way.  This  penetration  into 
the  ethical  significance  of  social  acting  showed  results  in  their 
own  actions.  They  were  willing  to  work  together  and  had  more 
concern  for  fair  play.  To  those  who  watched  and  guided  them, 
this  augured  well  that  in  their  later  lives  the  social,  ethical, 
and  moral  ways  of  living  might  become  synonymous  in  mean- 
ing. This  by-product  of  an  intelligent  and  sympathetic  under- 
standing of  the  ethics  of  a  present  situation  might  be  called  an 
indication  of  the  moral  value  of  history,  when  taught  in  this 
fashion. 

As  pointed  out  in  a  description  of  the  method  of  teaching 
history  in  the  school,1  three  lines  of  historical  development 


i  Georgia  F.  Bacon,  "History,*'  Elementary  School  Record,  Nov.,  1900. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE         315 

were  followed,  the  social,  Industrial,  and  political.  The  social 
and  industrial  were  emphasized  first  and  the  political  phase 
later,  although  at  all  times  attention  was  directed  to  the  simple 
beginnings  of  government  in  the  organization  of  primitive 
tribes  for  protection  and  other  purposes.  Only  at  a  later  stage 
of  growth,  at  eleven  or  twelve  years,  was  it  found  that  the  child 
is  able  to  appreciate  political  institutions,  to  understand  what 
special  institutional  idea  each  historic  nation  stands  for  and 
what  factor  it  has  contributed  to  the  present  complex  of  in- 
stitutions. 

History  for  the  younger  children  was  of  a  generalized  and 
simplified  type.  It  was  hardly  history  at  all  in  the  local  or 
chronological  sense,  but  aimed  to  give  the  child  insight  into 
and  sympathy  with  a  variety  of  present  and  fundamental  so- 
cial activities.  The  first  years  of  the  school  these  courses  were 
highly  experimental  in  character. 

SOCIAL    OCCUPATIONS   AND    HISTORY   IN    PREFERRED    ORDER 

One  year  a  combination  of  social  occupations,  such  as  coal 
mining,  cotton  growing,  and  general  farm  life,  with  stories  of 
early  Greek  life  and  primitive  life  was  tried.  The  class  visited 
farms,  modeled  them,  made  a  comparison  of  the  houses  in 
their  own  city  with  those  in  Greece,  Japan,  China,  and  Green- 
land, and  worked  out  the  evolution  of  the  home  from  cave 
periods.  The  following  year,  the  course  in  social  occupations 
was  continued.  Here  the  main  idea  was  the  interaction  of  coun- 
try and  city  life  in  maintaining  existing  conditions.  An  effort 
was  made  to  select  occupations  closely  connected  with  food, 
clothing,  and  shelter.  In  another  year  this  group  made  a  study 
of  child  life  in  Holland,  Africa,  Greenland,  and  Japan,  with 
some  work  on  climatic  conditions.  As  a  result  of  the  experience 
of  these  experimental  years  the  regular  course  of  study  for 
Group  III  (six  years)  was  present-day  occupations  of  people  in 
country  and  city.  This  course  was  called  Typical  Existing  So- 
cial  Occupations.  The  differentiation  of  city  and  country  life, 
their  interaction,  and  mutual  dependence  were  emphasized. 


gi6  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  later  reports  show  a  wide  variation  in  detail  of  treatment 
of  and  in  points  of  emphasis  on  this  topic  by  different  teachers 
and  even  by  the  same  teacher  with  different  classes. 

The  work  of  Group  IV,  seven  years  old,  was  outlined  as: 
Development  of  Social  Life;  Discoveries  and  Inventions  of  In- 
dustry, from  the  most  primitive  beginnings  to  the  opening  of 
authentic  history.  This  subject-matter  was  used  for  the  ajctivi- 
ties  of  the  children  of  this  age  throughout  the  life  of  the 
school.  It  also  varied  much  each  year  in  details  and  manner 
of  treatment,  but  at  all  times  the  present  and  the  past  were 
related  to  one  another. 

The  work  of  the  eight-year-old  children,  Group  V,  who  were 
on  the  borderland  of  the  second  period  of  growth,  passed 
through  an  experimental  period  (1896  to  1898).  In  the  first 
year  of  this  period  the  work  with  this  group  on  inventions 
through  discovery  had  been  passed  over  rapidly,  and  Homeric 
Society  taken  up  in  historical  detail,  since  it  afforded  insight 
into  a  simple,  natural  life  which  expressed  itself  in  a  rich, 
artistic  civilization.  The  Iliad  and  the  Odyssey  were  used  as 
vivid,  interesting  pictures  of  the  society  of  the  times.  The 
second  year  of  the  school  the  children  of  this  age,  Group  V, 
had  been  in  the  school  since  its  beginning.  They  had  had  con- 
secutive work  in  present-day  social  occupations  and  in  the 
evolution  of  inventions  and  their  effect  upon  life,  and  were 
given  a  course  which  related  then*  ideas  of  the  development  of 
an  imagined  primitive  tribe  to  a  definite  place  and  people. 
This  course  carried  the  development  of  civilization  to  a  form 
in  which  the  symbols  and  conveniences  such  as  a  written  lan- 
guage, number  system,  weights,  and  measures  approximated 
their  own.  The  Phoenicians  were  chosen  to  typify  this  stage. 
As  they  were  traders  and  explorers,  continuously  pushing  back 
farther  and  farther  the  boundaries  of  their  known  world,  the 
children  easily  made  the  transition  to  the  discoveries  of  another 
Mediterranean  maritime  people,  the  Venetians.  The  class  then 
followed  the  explorations  of  Marco  Polo  to  the  East,  of  Prince 
Henry  of  Portugal  around  Africa,  and  of  the  Spaniards  to  the 
west  in  the  journeys  of  Columbus  and  Balboa  to  America.  The 
story  of  Magellan  told  of  the  circumnavigation  of  the  whole 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          317 

world.  Children  of  eight  years  are  interested  in  adventure,  and 
this  course  dealt  with  the  great  movements  of  migration,  ex- 
ploration, and  discover)7  which  have  brought  the  whole  world 
into  human  ken.  The  account  of  the  great  explorers  and  dis- 
coverers thus  served  to  make  a  natural  transition  from  the 
previous  year's  work,  which  was  independent  of  historical 
data  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  to  what  is  local  and  specific 
and  depends  upon  certain  specified  persons  who  lived  at  cer- 
tain specified  times  and  places.  The  course  was  used  with 
Group  V  for  the  rest  of  the  years  of  the  school.2 

A  change  is  noticeable  in  the  attitude  toward  his  work  of  a 
child  of  nine  years,  and  the  problem  of  the  teacher  at  the 
beginning  of  the  reflective  age  becomes  more  complex.  She 
must  see  that  the  subject-matter  of  history  is  so  presented  that 
the  child's  mind  will  reach  out,  question,  examine,  and  analyze 
the  forces  which  caused  the  men  and  women  of  history  to 
think  and  act.  He  must  understand  also  the  social  side:  how 
their  acts  aided  or  hindered  progress.  History  now  becomes 
less  empirical  and  more  a  matter  of  authentic  record,  so  that 
the  question  of  definite  recall  of  what  has  been  studied  comes 
into  the  scheme.  The  attack  upon  the  subject-matter  is  differ- 
ent; it  is  not  so  much  a  question  of  how  a  people  might  meet 
a  problem  of  conditions  as  a  question  of  -fact  and  why  things 
happened  as  they  did.  During  the  previous  years  the  child  has 
gained  some  conception  of  space  relations  in  the  study  of  the 
world  as  a  whole;  definite  time  has  meant  little.  He  must  now 
get  some  idea  of  the  effect  of  time.  This  begins  vaguely,  but  as 
the  study  proceeds,  a  knowledge  of  dates  as  an  aid  In  compar- 
ing events  is  found  essential.  The  child  is  still  studying  indirect 
sociology,  and  his  study  must  be  one  of  types  in  order  that  he 
may  gain  methods  of  independent  work  which  will  enable  him 
to  understand  other  problems  of  history. 

DEVELOPMENT   OF   CURRICULUM   FROM   PREVIOUS  EXPERIMENTS 

The  subject-matter  for  Group  VI  also  developed  out  of  a 
series  of  experiments  of  successive  years.  In  the  later  years  of 

2  Course  given  by  Laura  L.  Runyon. 


3i8  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  school  their  study  centered  around  local  conditions  and  the 
definite  activities  of  a  particular  people.  Extracts  from  the  teach- 
er's account  of  the  work  follows:  3 

The  French  explorers  and  the  early  settlers  in  the  Northwest  and 
the  settlement  of  Chicago  made  a  good  beginning  for  children  liv- 
ing in  the  Mississippi  Valley.  It  gave  an  opportunity  to  enlarge  the 
concepts  formed  in  the  study  of  the  Phoenicians  and  the  early  ex- 
plorers. Marquette,  like  Livingstone,  is  seen  to  be  actuated  by 
religious  motives  in  exiling  himself  from  his  native  land;  Joliet,  as 
a  trader,  was  motivated  by  the  same  impulses  which  sent  the 
Phoenician  merchants  and,  long  afterwards,  the  explorers  of  the 
fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries  on  long  and  hazardous  voyages. 
In  searching  for  natural  highways  into  the  interior  of  America,  the 
child  finds  the  Mississippi  and  the  St.  Lawrence  as  he  found  the 
Nile,  Niger,  Congo,  and  Zambezi  in  his  study  of  Africa.  He  can, 
therefore,  compare  the  American  rivers  with  those  of  Africa,  the 
Indians  with  the  Negroes,  and  the  degree  of  civilization  of  tribes 
in  America  with  that  of  other  peoples  he  has  studied.  The  isolation 
of  the  early  pioneer  and  his  means  of  getting  his  furs  to  the  sea- 
coast,  his  tools,  weapons,  manner  of  living,  etc.,  are  brought  out.  In 
imagination  the  child  sees  the  frontier  life  develop  into  a  thriving 
village  with  need  of  a  local  government,  system  of  taxation,  im- 
provements, etc  Through  this  discussion  he  is  guided  to  compre- 
hend simple  forms  of  civic  politics,  so  that  the  paved  and  sewered 
streets,  the  policemen,  the  aldermen,  and  the  mayor,  with  all  of 
whom  he  has  been  somewhat  familiar,  have  now  more  definite  parts 
in  the  social  world.  .  .  . 

The  study  of  the  French  explorers  is  followed  by  a  brief  account 
of  the  explorers  who  gave  England  a  claim  to  land  in  America. 
Then  a  study  of  typical  American  colonies  is  begun,  Virginia  as  a 
southern  colony,  Massachusetts  as  a  northern  one.  The  church  and 
the  state  as  institutions  come  in  now  as  parts  of  the  social  life,  and 
efforts  toward  religious  and  political  freedom  underlie  the  life  of 
the  people.  With  the  child,  as  with  the  colonists,  the  first  question 
was  always  how  did  the  people  in  the  new  land  live.  Recognition 
was  always  given  to  the  fact  that  they  could  not  live  independently 
of  the  civilization  from  which  they  came.  .  .  .  An  attempt  was 
made  to  get  the  children  to  eliminate  those  conveniences  of  civiliza- 
tion with  which  they  are  familiar;  to  realize  how  it  would  seem 
to  live  in  America  without  a  single  railroad,  steamboat,  or  road  of 

» Laura  L.  Runyon,  The  Teaching  of  Elementary  History  in  the  Dewey 
School,  Thesis,  Graduate  School  Arts  and  Literature  (University  of  Chi- 
cago, June,  1906). 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          319 

any  kind  except  the  Indian  trails  and  rivers;  to  be  dependent  upon 
England  for  sugar,  vinegar,  tea,  coffee,  etc*;  to  imagine  how  it  would 
seem  to  have  no  fuel  except  wood,  no  means  of  lighting  a  fire  ex- 
cept flint  and  steel;  to  have  no  oil  for  lamps,  no  cattle  from  which 
to  get  milk  and  butter;  and  to  have  to  build  houses  of  logs,  since 
there  were  no  sawmills.  The  children  discussed  the  new  conditions 
of  life  that  must  be  met,  then  read  the  account  to  see  if  their  sup- 
positions were  correct.  They  discovered  that  England  had  to  learn 
by  experience  the  art  of  colonization.  .  .  . 

A  vivid  description  of  the  settlement  of  Virginia  and  the  motives 
which  led  to  it  was  followed  by  a  discussion  of  why  things  were  as 
the  historian  describes  them,  whether  the  starving  time  was  due 
solely  to  the  "community  of  goods"  system  and  consequent  idleness 
on  the  part  of  the  gentlemen  who  came  to  find  gold,  or  whether  it 
might  not  be  accounted  for  in  part  by  the  lack  of  knowledge  of  soil 
and  farming  and  the  difficulties  of  clearing  ground  with  the  in- 
adequate methods  of  the  time.  In  the  story  of  the  development  of 
the  first  permanent  English  colony  the  child  learns  more  than  mere 
facts.  In  considering  the  life  of  John  Smith,  or  any  other  hero  of 
the  early  times,  he  sees  a  whole  life  in  perspective.  He  has  had  little 
actual  experience  with  people  that  will  aid  him  in  judging  char- 
acter, but  in  the  study  of  characters  in  history  the  motive  of  action 
and  the  results  stand  out  prominently.  Youth  with  its  conditions 
and  age  as  it  has  worked  out  its  life  are  brought  together.  Thus  the 
lives  of  historical  personages  bring  the  child  into  contact  with  the 
experiences  of  long  life.  Such  character  study  is  made  in  its  natural 
setting  as  the  child  images  the  life  of  the  people  and  the  times.  That 
these  persons  studied  are  ancestors  of  himself  and  his  friends  gives 
a  deeper  interest  in  the  work.  As  he  identifies  Himself  with  the 
colony,  he  appreciates  those  who  help  on  and  is  indignant  with 
those  who  hinder  progress;  and  this  helping  or  hindering,  he  com- 
prehends, is  not  a  mere  question  of  willing,  but  depends  upon 
what  a  man  is.  Therefore,  his  conception  of  his  own  social  world 
becomes  clearer,  and  he  begins  to  get  a  glimpse  of  the  dose  net- 
work which  binds  each  individual  to  every  other. 

The  study  of  colonial  history,  therefore,  furnished  only  the  carry- 
ing medium  for  the  deeper  and  more  universal  study  of  the  adapta- 
tion of  a  civilized  people  to  the  primitive  conditions  of  a  new 
environment,  the  study  of  character,  and  the  training  of  judgment 
In  these  early  days  the  prototype  of  our  democratic  form  of  gov- 
ernment was  worked  out,  and  the  child  who  is  just  beginning  to  be 
interested  in  the  city  and  national  elections  is  able  to  comprehend 
how  they  began.  He  is  studying  the  life  of  a  people,  the  problems 
they  had  to  face  and  how  they  succeeded.  He  constantly  contrasts 
the  past  with  his  own  life  and  gets  deeper  understanding  of  the 


32o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

present.  He  finds  the  meaning  for  much  of  his  present  life  in  the 
past  and,  hence,  is  constantly  reading  into  his  daily  life  the  new 
value  derived  from  his  study.  In  New  England,  the  colonial  question 
has  a  different  phase  from  Virginia  in  the  religious  reasons  which 
induced  the  Pilgrims  and  Puritans  to  leave  their  native  land  and 
seek  homes  in  a  new  country.  Commercial  products  in  New  England 
were  different  from  those  in  Virginia,  because  of  the  difference  in 
latitude  and  physiographical  conditions.  .  .  . 

The  general  plan  was  for  the  class  to  discuss  a  situation  and 
decide  from  their  point  of  view  as  colonists  what  would  be  best  to 
do  next,  either  from  the  teadier  or  books,  to  discover  just  what  was 
done,  then  to  decide  what  probably  would  be  the  effect  of  the 
action  or  decision,  and  finally  to  find  out  what  the  actual  result  was 
as  stated  in  historical  records.  This  method  of  attacking  history  is 
similar  to  that  of  science.  There  is  first  the  recognition  of  conditions, 
an  attempt  to  relate  the  situation  to  those  previously  studied,  next 
an  hypothesis  as  to  the  effect  of  manipulation  of  conditions,  then  a 
study  of  the  effect,  and  then  generalization  of  results.  It  was  found 
that  the  physiographical  conditions  of  a  country  are  largely  re- 
sponsible for  its  industries.  The  New  England  farmers  had  discov- 
ered that  their  barren  hills  furnished  pasture  for  sheep  and  cattle, 
and  that  cattle  and  wool  were  readily  exchanged  in  the  West  Indies, 
together  with  fish,  for  molasses,  sugar,  etc.  And  molasses  helped  to 
make  rum,  which  could  be  sold  for  gold  (a  rare  article  in  the 
colonies)  to  the  slave  trade-ships.  England  had  by  law  prevented 
this  trade.  The  fact  that  the  laws  could  only  be  partially  enforced 
did  not  remove  the  irritation  they  caused.  .  .  .  To  understand  this 
irritation,  it  is  necessary  to  recall  the  stages  of  development  of 
manufactures  before  the  Revolution.  Industries  were  carried  on  in 
the  home  and  gave  each  family  an  opportunity  to  make  a  little 
money.  In  their  study  of  textiles  the  children  worked  out  the  part 
invention  played  in  the  various  steps  in  the  manufacture  of  cloth 
and  were,  therefore,  able  to  comprehend  the  change  that  would 
come  with  the  beginning  of  those  inventions  which  brought  in  the 
factory  system  and  made  possible  the  rapid  growth  of  manufactories 
at  the  close  of  the  Revolution. 

The  ten-year-old  children  (Group  VII)  in  the  experimental  first 
years  of  the  school  had  the  same  work  as  Group  VI.  In  the  revised 
program  for  this  age  the  American  history  of  the  year  before  was 
continued,  taking  up  the  French  and  Indian  War  and  the  Revolu- 
tion. The  amount  of  ground  covered  and  the  method  of  treat- 
ment varied  in  different  years.  For  two  successive  years  the  group 
spent  the  entire  year  on  American  history  and  covered  part  or  all 
of  the  Revolutionary  War  period.  One  year  the  group  spent  six 
months  on  this  work,  omitting  the  Revolution  and  studying  the 


FINISHING   THE   HEDDLE 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          321 

connections  of  American  and  European  life.  With  this  group  the 
center  of  thought  and  study  was  focused  on  the  ethical  and  scien- 
tific side  of  the  struggle. 

Group  VIII  (eleven  years)  was  in  a  transitional  period.  The  sub- 
ject which  seemed  to  fit  this  period  was  the  history  of  colonization 
by  European  countries.  The  attempt  was  made  to  give  to  this 
group  the  same  balance  and  completeness  of  world  view  as  that 
gained  by  the  eight-year-old  children  in  the  study  of  the  Phoenicians 
and  early  world  explorers.  In  each  of  these  years  the  effort  -was 
made  to  help  the  children  gather  together  the  knowledge  of  the 
two  preceding  years  and  grasp  its  significance  as  a  whole  in  larger 
relations.  Accordingly,  the  development  of  the  American  colonies 
was  considered  from  an  European  point  of  view.  England,  France, 
and  Spain  were  studied  as  countries  which  attempted  colonization 
in  the  New  World,  in  the  East  Indies,  Africa,  and  Australia.  The 
methods  and  aims  in  claiming  and  holding  territory,  the  character 
of  the  settlements,  and  the  connections  with  the  mother  country 
were  taken  up.  A  comparison  was  made  of  the  colonies  established 
by  one  country  in  different  parts  of  the  world  (as  England's  colonies 
in  America,  India,  Africa,  and  Australia).  The  conflicts  of  different 
countries  over  land  claims,  and  the  working  out  of  some  principles 
of  international  law  were  discussed,  and  a  comparison  of  the  differ- 
ent national  methods  of  establishing  and  controlling  colonies  made. 
It  was  necessary  to  compare  climates,  to  realize  the  physiography 
of  the  different  regions,  the  industrial  products  possible,  and  the 
trade  routes  open  for  exchange  with  other  countries.  The  study  also 
brought  out  the  knowledge  of  new  products  and  the  necessity  of 
dealing  with  larger  areas,  larger  masses  of  people,  and  new  condi- 
tions. The  settlement  by  European  countries  of  colonies  in  America 
brought  the  children  back  from  their  excursion  into  world  history 
and  geography  and  the  study  of  the  backgrounds  of  the  colonists 
to  America  and  her  problems  in  the  Revolutionary  period. 

Group  IX,  at  twelve  years,  took  up  the  colonies  just  before  the 
Revolutionary  period,  the  formation  of  the  Constitution,  and  the 
westward  expansion  of  the  new  Union  and  its  gradual  acquisition 
of  territory. 

Group  X  (thirteen  years)  was  believed  to  be  ready  to  deal,  not 
with  social  life  in  general  nor  social  life  that  is  familiar,  but  with 
certain  thoroughly  differentiated,  peculiar  types  of  social  life,  the 
special  significance  of  each,  and  the  particular  contribution  each 
has  made  to  world  history.  The  plan,  accordingly,  was  to  follow 
chronological  order  to  a  large  extent,  to  begin  with  the  ancient 
world  about  the  Mediterranean  basin  and  the  contribution  the 
various  ancient  peoples  had  made  to  social  life,  art,  and  industry, 
and  to  guide  the  child  through  European  history  and  the  move- 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

ments  of  peoples  in  territorial  expansion  to  the  peculiar  and  dif- 
ferentiating factors  of  American  history.  This  plan  was  never 
carried  into  practice,  however,  in  its  entirety.  For  two  years  this 
group  had  no  history,  as  they  were  absorbed  and  occupied  with 
building  the  club-house.  Another  year,  because  of  gaps  in  history 
training,  the  group  made  a  thorough  review  of  American  history, 
using  McMaster's  School  History  as  a  textbook.4 

Group  XI  (fourteen  and  fifteen  years)  in  the  last  years  of  the  school 
studied  Roman  history  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  formation  of 
a  political  state.  The  starting  point  was  the  play  of  Julius  Caesar,  part 
of  college  requirements. 

SUMMARY   OF   CURRICULA  AND  METHOD 

The  children  who  had  followed  the  regular  work  of  the 
school  had  spent  one  year  on  social  occupations,  one  on  primi- 
tive life,  one  on  explorations  and  discoveries,  one  on  Chicago 
and  the  Virginia  and  Massachusetts  Bay  colonies,  one  on  the 
union  of  the  colonies  and  the  Revolution,  one  half-year  on 
American  history  from  the  European  point  of  view,  one  half- 
year  on  the  formation  of  the  American  Constitution,  the  ac- 
quisition of  new  territory  in  the  westward  expansion,  and  the 
industrial  development  up  to  1830,  and  one  year  on  history 
review  in  preparation  for  college  board  examinations  or  on 
Roman  history.  The  average  time  the  younger  groups  spent  on 
history  was  two  and  one  half  hours  a  week;  that  of  the  older 
groups  was  one  and  one  half  hours  a  week.  The  successful 
practices  of  each  succeeding  year  became  the  revised  program 
for  the  next  year.  Thus  each  year's  work  was  the  produc  of 
repeated  experiments  and  finally  resulted  in  the  general  plan 
outlined  above. 

A  report  of  the  work  and  method  of  another  group  and 
teacher  follows: 5 

The  method  employed  in  conducting  classes  was  generally  that 
of  conversation  and  discussion.  Facts  and  conditions  were  pre- 
sented, making  the  life  of  the  time  under  consideration  as  real  as 
possible.  When  the  children  understood  the  conditions  of  the  life, 

*  These  children  had  studied  Roman  history  at  eleven  when  they  be- 
gan Latin. 

s  Georgia  F.  Bacon,  "History,"  Elementary  School  Record,  November, 
1900. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          323 

the  problems  of  the  time  naturally  presented  themselves,  and  the 
class  endeavored  to  find  a  solution.  It  was  an  interesting  fact  that 
the  more  the  class  lived  in  the  time  the  more  certain  it  was  to  find 
the  same  solution  to  the  questions  of  the  day  as  the  people  who 
actually  worked  them  out.  Young  children  like  the  detail  which  is 
necessary  for  this  sort  of  work;  they  like  to  dwell  for  a  long  time 
on  an  event;  they  like  to  walk  around  it,  mentally  viewing  it  from 
all  points  and  asking  numberless  questions  until  the  picture  stands 
distinct  in  the  mind.  The  ideal  way  of  teaching  history  to  little 
children  is  to  allow  them  to  make  whatever  approach  they  wish. 
To  do  this  the  teacher  must  be  well  acquainted  with  her  subject, 
well  equipped  with  facts,  and  must  have  in  mind  a  definite  thing 
to  be  taught.  Her  real  opportunity  to  guide  lies  in  her  suggestive 
answers  to  their  questions,  or  in  helping  the  children  to  make  their 
own  answers.  By  this  process  they  gain  not  only  an  extensive  but 
an  intensive  view.  One  great  difficulty  in  this  method  is  the  lack 
of  books  that  enter  sufficiently  into  detail.6  Even  children  feel  this; 
one  child  complained:  "The  books  don't  tell  enough  about  any- 
thing so  you  really  know  it.  They  say  a  little  about  this  man,  or 
that  one,  and  then  leave  it  and  take  up  something  else."  The  books 
of  Alice  Morse  Earl  meet  this  demand  for  fine  detail  in  colonial 
history  in  a  satisfactory  manner. 

With  very  young  children  the  teacher  furnished  the  positive  in- 
formation. As  soon  as  the  pupils  were  able  to  read,  however,  they 
were  sent  to  books  to  look  up  the  necessary  facts.  Generally,  with 
older  pupils  each  was  asked  to  report  on  a  different  point  and  thus 
contribute  to  the  building  up  of  the  whole.  This  provided  a  raison 
d'etre  to  the  recitation.  Sometimes  the  lessons  were  carried  on  so 
that  the  children  ran  aground  until  they  could  get  certain  informa- 
tion, and  the  gathering  of  this  information  constituted  the  prepa- 
ration for  the  next  lesson.  At  other  times  the  teacher  gave  out  a 
number  of  points  to  be  looked  up  for  discussion  the  following  day. 
In  class  the  interchange  of  thought,  the  additions  and  criticism, 
cleared  up  the  ideas  and  fixed  them  firmly  in  mind.  If  a  book 
was  found  which  summed  up  a  period,  it  was  read  as  a  review, 
after  the  material  had  been  worked  over  in  class  as  indicated  above. 
In  United  States  history,  Fiske's  School  History  answered  this  pur- 
pose admirably  with  children  over  eleven  years  of  age. 

The  interest  of  children  of  twelve  and  thirteen  in  historical 
novels  led  to  the  belief  that  biography  could  be  used  with  great 
profit.  .  .  .  The  experiment  was  tried  to  a  certain  extent  with  a 
class  in  United  States  history.  Each  child  selected  a  prominent  man 
of  Revolutionary  times,  made  a  study  of  his  life  and  reported  on 
the  part  he  played  in  the  Revolution. 

6  This  is  no  longer  true. 


3*4 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 


A  child  is  a  natural  hero  worshipper.  He  begins  by  placing  his 
parents  on  a  pedestal;  later,  the  school  companion  who  can  per- 
form the  greatest  feat  replaces  these.  As  his  horizon  broadens,  his 
heroes  become  men  of  national  repute,  for  the  most  part  military 
or  naval  heroes  whose  deeds  he  can  appreciate.  ...  It  is  well,  then, 
that  the  hero  should  be  of  the  right  sort  to  inspire  him.  This, 
history  can  provide,  as  it  deals  for  the  most  part  with  those  who 
have  held  high  ideals  and  have  possessed  strength  of  character  to 
carry  them  out.  In  this  study  of  characters  in  relation  to  their 
physical  and  social  environment,  the  child  is  impressed  with  the 
relative  value  of  different  traits  and  learns  to  appreciate  those 
which  ensure  success  of  the  lasting  sort.  It  was  often  clearly  demon- 
strated in  this  school  that  the  ethical  teaching  of  history  had  for 
its  end  the  development  of  the  child  in  the  three  directions  in- 
dicated by  Mr.  Dewey  in  his  definition  of  character:  First,  good 
judgment.  This  is  the  ability  to  take  the  permanent  instead  of 
the  transient,  the  important  instead  of  the  trivial.  It  is  the  power 
to  have  perspective  and  proportion  in  considering  the  possibilities 
of  experience.  .  .  .  Second,  it  involves  emotional  delicacy  or  re- 
sponsiveness to  what  is  conceived  as  worth  while  or  as  good.  .  .  . 
Finally,  character  means  the  possession  of  practical  force,  the  power 
to  assert  one's  convictions  and  aims  amid  difficulties  and  to  persist 
in  their  execution  against  obstacles. 


B.   THE   TEXTILE  INDUSTRY  HISTORICALLY   DEVELOPED 

As  the  school  developed,  certain  occupations  displayed 
greater  continuity  than  others  for  adaptation  to  different  age 
levels  and  were,  therefore,  of  striking  help  in  teaching  science 
and  history.  The  shop-work  with  wood  and  metals,  because  of 
limitations  as  to  quarters  and  teachers,  never  developed  the 
continuity  possible  with  these  materials.  Cooking  proved  of 
enormous  value  in  teaching  the  scientific  method,  although  its 
historical  bearings  were  always  adequately  developed.  The 
textile  occupations  were  found  quite  perfectly  adapted  to  show 
the  historical  development  of  an  industry  fundamentally  im- 
portant to  daily  living.  The  detailed  record  of  how  this  oc- 
cupation was  used  educationally  in  the  school  is  therefore 
given  in  this  account  of  the  history  matter  of  the  curriculum. 

The  history  of  work,  what  people  did  to  get  a  living,  was  a 
main  theme  of  the  school  curriculum.  It  provided  a  continu- 
ous story,  capable  of  unlimited  extension  into  many  fields  of 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          325 

knowledge.  Shorter  projects  grew  out  of  it  naturally  and  in 
turn  led  on  to  others,  all  giving  sustenance  and  value  to  the 
whole.  The  test  of  a  subject  for  study  was  the  number  of  its 
possibilities  not  only  for  continuing  but  for  enlarging  experi- 
ence. Did  it  lead  to  a  next  step?  Deference  to  this  criterion 
gave  a  continuity  to  the  school's  curriculum  which  was  one  of 
its  outstanding  characteristics. 

As  the  result  of  a  good  deal  of  experimenting  from  year  to 
year,  the  various -activities  of  spinning,  weaving,  sewing,  the 
making  of  clothing  or  other  necessary  or  decorative  household 
articles  grew  into  a  continuous  study  of  various  occupations 
concerned  with  the  making  of  fabrics,  known  on  the  school's 
program  as  a  course  in  Textiles.  All  of  the  activities  of  the 
school  were  occupations  or  related  to  occupations  which  are 
reproductions  of  or  run  parallel  to  forms  of  work  carried  on 
in  all  social  life,  whether  of  the  present  or  of  the  past.  One 
of  their  most  important  educational  possibilities  was  that 
they  furnished  so  many  things  in  simple  form  that  a  child  can 
do.  More,  perhaps,  than  any  other  household  occupation,  the 
course  in  textiles  opened  up  many  lines  of  interest  to  children 
of  all  ages  and  afforded  more  frequently  than  most  courses, 
opportunity  to  each  child  for  free  practice  in  thought  and 
action.  Many  facts  of  history,  of  science,  and  of  geography 
naturally  related  themselves  to  its  various  phases.  The  how  and 
why  and  where  of  developing  human  life  centered  easily  and 
naturally  around  these  activities  of  human  living,  and  through 
taking  part  in  them  the  ways  of  progress  in  material  and  social 
living  grew  plain  to  the  participating  children.  It  was,  in  fact, 
one  of  the  most  successful  unifying  agents  of  the  whole  ele- 
mentary program.  It  correlated  history  with  science  or  with 
geography  and  stimulated  the  child's  interest  and  effort  to 
attain  mastery  of  his  skills  in  reading,  writing,  or  measure- 
ment. 

The  fundamental  point  in  the  psychology  of  the  controlled 
educational  use  of  an  occupation  such  as  the  spinning  or  the 
weaving  was  found  to  be  that  it  maintains  a  balance  between 
the  intellectual  and  the  practical  phases  of  experience.  As  an 
occupation  it  is  active  or  motor;  it  finds  expression  through  the 


326  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

physical  organs,  the  eyes,  hands,  etc.  But  it  also  involves  con- 
tinual observation  of  materials  and  continual  planning  and 
reflection  in  order  that  the  practical  or  executive  side  may  be 
successfully  carried  on.  Conceived  thus,  as  an  occupation,  it 
should  be  carefully  distinguished  from  work  which  educates 
primarily  for  a  trade.7  Its  end  is  in  itself,  in  the  growth  that 
comes  from  the  continual  interplay  of  ideas  and  their  em- 
bodiment in  action,  and  not  in  external  utility.  Great  stress  was 
laid  upon  personal  experimenting,  planning  and  reinventing, 
and  upon  the  parallelism  of  the  children's  work  with  lines  of 
historical  and  social  development  of  the  period.  The  first  re- 
quires the  child  to  be  mentally  quick  and  alert  at  every  point 
in  order  that  he  may  do  the  outward  work  properly.  The  second 
enriches  and  deepens  the  work  performed  by  saturating  it  with 
values  suggested  from  the  social  life  which  it  recapitulates. 


INTRODUCTION   TO   INDUSTRY   IN   PRIMITIVE   HISTORY 

The  child,  with  his  untried  powers,  his  paucity  of  experi- 
ence, is  in  much  the  same  attitude  toward  the  world  and  toward 
life  as  was  early  man.  Both  are  decidedly  motor  in  their  ac- 
tivity. In  both  there  is  a  reservoir  of  motor  energy,  urgent  for 
discharge  upon  their  environment.  Both  are  interested  in 
objects  and  materials,  not  from  a  contemplative  or  theoretical 
standpoint,  but  from  the  standpoint  of  what  can  be  done  with 
them,  and  what  can  be  got  out  of  them.  Primitive  man  mainly 
occupied  himself  with  the  direct  problems  of  life— food,  fuel, 
shelter,  protection.  His  concerns  were  the  utensils,  tools,  instru- 
mentalities that  secured  him  a  constantly  improving  life.  His 


T  Mr.  Dewey  points  out  that  "wherever  the  mastery  of  certain  tools  or 
the  production  of  certain  objects  is  made  the  primary  end  of  manual  train- 
ing, the  educational  value  is  lost.  When,  however,  the  child  is  given  intel- 
lectual responsibility  in  his  work  to  select  materials  and  instruments  that 
are  most  fit;  if  he  has  opportunity  to  think  out  his  own  model  and  plan 
of  work,  if  he  is  led  to  perceive  his  own  errors  and  find  out  how  to  correct 
them  so  far  as  he  is  able,  his  work  has  great  educational  value.  Such  work 
may  be  called  an  occupation  because  the  maximum  of  consciousness  is  put 
into  whatever  is  done."  "The  Psychology  of  Occupation,"  Elementary 
School  Record,  April,  1900. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          327 

interest  in  nature  was  based  upon  its  direct  and  indispensable 
relation  to  his  own  needs  and  activities. 

This  suggested  to  those  directing  this  experiment  that  an 
important  educational  task  might  be  to  get  hold  of  the  es- 
sential underlying  attitude  which  the  child  has  in  common 
with  primitive  man  and  give  it  such  play  and  expression  that, 
avoiding  the  errors  and  wanderings  of  his  forefathers,  he  may 
come  to  the  ends  and  realities  toward  which,  after  all,  primi- 
tive man  was  struggling.  In  developing  his  idea  of  this  task, 
Mr.  Dewey  points  out  that  there  is  a  fundamental  and  im- 
portant difference  between  the  two.  Necessity,  the  pressure 
of  getting  a  living,  was  upon  the  savage.  The  child  is,  or 
should  be,  protected  against  economic  stress  and  strain.  The 
expression  of  energy  takes,  in  his  case,  a  form  of  play,  play 
which  is  not  amusement,  but  the  intrinsic  exhibition  of  in- 
herent powers  so  as  to  exercise  and  develop  them.  Accordingly, 
while  the  value  of  the  motor  activities  of  the  savage  was  found 
chiefly  in  the  external  result,  in  the  game  that  was  killed  or 
the  fish  that  was  caught,  and  only  incidentally  in  a  gain  of 
skill  and  insight,  with  the  child  the  exact  reverse  is  the  case. 
With  him,  the  external  result  is  only  a  sign,  a  token;  it  is  just 
a  proof  and  exhibition  to  himself  of  his  own  capacities.  In  it 
he  comes  to  consciousness  of  his  own  impulses.  He  learns  to 
know  them  through  seeing  what  they  can  effect.  But  the 
primary  interest  and  the  ultimate  value  remain  in  the  culture 
of  the  powers  of  action,  obtained  in  and  through  their  being 
put  to  effective  use. 

Criticism  has  frequently  been  directed  against  using  a  year 
of  the  young  child's  life  in  a  study  of  primitive  conditions.  The 
criticism  has  point  only  if  primitive  life  is  so  isolated  as  to  be 
treated  as  an  end  in  itself,  instead  of  as  an  opportunity  for 
the  study  of  the  joint  activity  of  social  needs  and  intelligence 
in  esthetic  industrial  invention.  Speaking  of  this  matter  in 
connection  with  the  use  of  textiles  as  a  continuous  course 
throughout  the  program,  the  director  of  the  school  wrote  as 
follows:  8 


s  John  Dewey,  "The  Psychology  of  Occupation,"  Elementary  School 
Record f  April,  1900. 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

The  study  of  primitive  forms  of  spinning  and  weaving  is  given 
in  connection  with  the  primitive  history  to  illustrate  further  the 
life  of  people  whose  mode  of  living  is  simple  and  in  direct  contact 
with  nature.  This  study  also  presents  a  craft  which  has  an  intimate 
place  in  the  daily  life  of  primitive  people. 

The  suggestion  has  been  made  that  present  conditions  of  manu- 
facture might  more  profitably  present  a  study  of  textiles  than  a  re- 
turn to  unused  methods.  The  advantage  of  returning  to  these 
earlier  methods,  aside  from  giving  a  richer  content  to  the  period 
of  history  the  child  is  concerned  with,  is  that  they  exhibit  an  im- 
portant industry  of  today  reduced  to  its  simplest  terms.  The  exist- 
ing forms  of  the  industry  of  textiles  are  too  complex  in  process,  in 
the  forms  of  the  machines,  and  in  organization,  for  the  children, 
to  comprehend;  whereas  in  primitive  conditions  we  find  only  the 
essential  elements  of  the  industry.  Non-essentials  are  eliminated; 
basic  principles  are  clear  and  definite;  the  child  deals  first-hand 
with  raw  materials.  With  this  concrete  background  of  experience  it 
becomes  comparatively  easy  for  children  to  understand  modern 
machine  production. 

The  child  realizes  the  conditions  of  the  period  by  reconstructing 
them  with  materials  naturally  used  at  that  time.  These  are  of  such 
a  nature  that  the  child  can  reinvent  processes  and  implements 
used.  The  dramatic  instinct  is  appealed  to  in  acting  out  the  life 
and  occupations,  the  creative  or  artistic  desire  to  carry  a  project 
to  its  end.  The  child's  joy  in  doing  what  other  people  have  done 
finds  an  outlet,  and  meanwhile  he  gains  power  in  handling  ma- 
terials and  in  controlling  processes.  These  impulses  and  experi- 
ences are  realized  in  the  finished  product,  which  holds  the  child's 
interest  throughout.  The  spinning  and  weaving  are  for  the  purpose 
of  providing  blankets  for  the  primitive  family  and  are  done  in  a 
manner  appropriate  to  the  limitations  of  its  life.  The  child  also 
realizes  in  the  progress  of  his  work  the  artistic  impulses  of  these 
primitive  peoples,  which  are  recalled  in  his  own  quaint  designs 
and  color  combinations.  Such  material  is  selected  as  will  give  pleas- 
ing results.  In  other  words,  the  finished  product  should  be,  so  far 
as  possible,  beautiful.  From  the  child's  point  of  view  there  should 
be  nothing  in  it  to  offend  or  interfere  with  his  judgment  of  what 
is  appropriate.  Above  all  it  should  contribute  something  to  his 
standard  of  judgment  of  things  of  an  artistic  nature. 

What  is  here  said  about  conditions  of  manufacture  in  one  in- 
dustry is  true  not  only  of  industry  in  general,  but  of  forms  of  social 
organization  as  well.  In  working  out  the  different  processes  in- 
volved in  making  cloth,  in  using  materials  and  implements  sug- 
gested by  necessity,  and  in  observing  the  results  reached  by  people 
of  the  past,  children  realize  the  advance  made  in  methods  of  work 
and  can  readily  understand  the  meaning  of  industrial  organization 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          329 

in  its  simplest  forms.  This  step  precedes  a  more  fruitful  and  con- 
crete study  of  the  later  phases  of  the  industry;  that  is,  of  the  house- 
hold and  domestic  period  which  is  richly  illustrated  in  early  colonial 
life.  This  again  is  followed  by  a  study  of  the  transition  period,  the 
era  of  inventions  in  England  in  the  eighteenth  century,  which  in 
turn  indicates  economic  conditions  leading  to  factory  organiza- 
tion. The  study  of  each  phase  of  industry  is  simplified  by  following 
its  natural  development  and  by  its  coincidence  with  history  which 
provides  the  social  setting.  It  has  a  further  advantage  in  that  it  can 
be  adapted  to  each  period  of  the  child's  development.  He  is  himself 
advancing  by  easy  stages  of  such  a  nature  as  enable  him  to  com- 
prehend cause  and  effect  in  the  organization  of  the  particular  phases 
of  the  industry  he  is  pursuing. 

It  was  a  matter  of  common  experience  in  the  school  that 
when  activities  were  undertaken  in  the  simple  crude  setting 
of  imagined  primitive  life,  it  was  possible  and  natural  to 
put  the  children  in  touch  with  raw  materials.  They  thus 
learned  by  experience  to  prepare  them  for  use  in  this  work. 
The  educational  use  of  this  was  most  apparent  in  a  course  in 
basketry  which  was  given  in  the  school  as  a  part  of  the  textile 
work: 

9  The  children  sought  for,  discovered,  and  experimented  with  na- 
tive grasses  and  with  those  of  many  other  localities.  This  awak- 
ened an  interest  in  their  own  environment  and,  by  contrast,  in 
that  of  other  localities.  In  such  a  course  the  care  and  preparation 
of  the  grasses  carry  the  child  to  a  further  appreciation  of  their 
quality  and  beauty  than  he  gets  from  a  mere  understanding  of 
their  application.  In  drying  them  their  constant  change  and  variety 
of  color  suggests  different  modes  of  working  toward  securing  whole 
series  of  colors.  Through  the  greens,  browns,  and  yellows  which 
naturally  appear,  the  child  may  be  led  to  vary  his  process  in  such 
a  way  as  to  secure  infinite  numbers  of  shades  of  all  these  colors.  .  .  . 
The  finished  product  is,  perhaps,  crude  compared  with  the  basket 
or  mat  made  with  prepared  material,  but  what  the  child  gets  from 
it  is  infinitely  more  worth  while.  The  products  contribute  to  an 
appreciation  of  nature,  and  through  the  control  of  nature's  ma- 
terial he  realizes  the  pleasure  of  artistic  creation.  It  has  brought 
something  into  the  life  of  the  one  who  made  it,  has  contributed 
to  his  own  experience.  .  .  . 


9Althea  Harmer,  "Primitive  Textile  Work  in  the  Laboratory  School," 
The  Elementary  School  Teacher,  June,  1903. 


33o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

Continuous  throughout  the  whole  elementary  period,  this 
course  in  textiles,  like  that  in  cooking,  represented  the  possi- 
bilities of  such  an  activity  as  a  carrier  for  facts.  Freighted  as 
it  was  with  innumerable  possibilities  for  extension  into  the 
field  of  the  fine  arts  and  of  human  relationships,  it  became  in 
the  hands  of  a  very  gifted  and  highly  trained  teacher  one  of  the 
main  avenues  for  the  extension  of  knowledge,  the  develop- 
ment of  skill  in  expression  and  creative  ability,  and  an  in- 
creased appreciation  of  esthetic  beauty  and  the  meaning  of 
social  values  and  standards.  The  story  of  its  use  in  the  school, 
as  told  by  the  teacher  who  guided  its  developing  activities, 
follows: 

10  A  DEVELOPING   INDUSTRY  AS   CURRICULAR  MATERIAL 

In  every  community  the  greater  number  of  people  are  engaged 
in  the  industries  of  providing  food,  clothing,  and  shelter.  Indus- 
tries largely  affect  the  social  life  of  a  community,  and  the  social 
life  its  history.  The  textile  industries  have  been  chosen  as  a  type 
of  industry  which  can  be  studied  in  the  school-room  for  illustrat- 
ing this  effect  on  social  life  and  history. 

Under  primitive  conditions  the  spinning  and  weaving  are  in  the 
first  stages  of  development;  skins,  furs,  and  matted  fibers  are  used 
for  clothing.  At  a  later  period  each  home  becomes  its  own  pro- 
ducer; clothing,  from  the  raw  material  to  the  finished  garment,  is 
made  by  some  member  of  the  family.  Even  in  this  period  there 
is  a  division  of  labor  in  the  hand-work,  giving  to  each  member  of 
the  family  the  task  he  can  do  best.  In  the  maiding  of  woolen  cloth, 
for  example,  the  younger  members  cleaned  and  carded  the  wool; 
the  women  spun  the  yarn;  the  men  washed  and  sheared  the  sheep 
and  usually  did  the  weaving,  while  the  mother  made  the  doth 
into  garments  for  the  family. 

Out  of  the  household  developed  the  so-called  domestic  system.  A 
master-workman,  with  a  small  capital,  bought  wool  from  a  dealer, 
distributed  it  among  the  families  in  the  village  to  be  carded,  spun, 
and  woven.  He  collected  the  cloth  and  carried  it  to  town  to  sell 
at  a  profit.  The  merchant  was  then  separated  from  the  manu- 
facturer. 

With  the  introduction  of  machines  and  more  specialization,  the 
domestic  system  gradually  grew  into  the  factory.  Weavers  first  took 

10  Althea  Harmer,  "Textile  Industries,"  Elementary  School  Record,  April, 
1900. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE         331 

their  wool  to  the  factory  to  be  carded  by  machine;  later  the  spin- 
ning was  done  in  the  factory,  weaving  still  remaining  a  home  in- 
dustry. The  work  was  controlled  by  a  capitalist  and  done  under 
inspection  in  the  homes  of  weavers.  The  weavers  were,  in  conse- 
quence of  this  system,  obliged  to  leave  the  country  and  congre- 
gate around  the  village  spinning  mills.  The  power  used  in  running 
the  mills  also  affected  conditions  of  manufacture.  Factories  run  by 
water-power  were  scattered  through  the  country  along  the  banks 
of  rivers  and  small  streams.  With  the  use  of  steam-power,  factory 
life  concentrated  in  large  cities  near  centers  of  trade.  Large  capital 
was  invested;  machines  were  invented  and  improved;  and  finally 
the  present  factory  system  was  introduced. 

This  is  a  brief  statement  of  the  industrial  history  about  which 
the  work  of  the  children  centers.  Three  stages  of  development  were 
selected  because  of  their  connections  with  the  history  work,  and  be- 
cause the  materials  and  implements  involved  in  the  different 
processes  are  of  such  a  nature  that  the  children  could  make  their 
own  deductions  from  simple  experiments.  They  were  able  to  carry 
out  the  whole  process  from  the  handling  of  the  fiber  in  its  natural 
condition  to  the  woven  cloth. 

The  value  of  the  child's  social  education  lies  in  his  gradual 
growth  in  knowledge  of  the  meaning  of  the  simplest  forms  of  in- 
dustrial organization.  He  can  follow  each  period  of  development 
when  he  himself  is  at  such  a  stage  of  social  advancement  as  to 
readily  comprehend  causes  and  their  effects.  A  child  who  is  able 
to  rediscover  and  carry  out  from  beginning  to  end  the  whole  ma- 
terial process  of  an  industry  is  also  able  to  organize  it  on  the  social 
side.  Step  by  step  from  the  primitive  through  the  household  and 
domestic  stage  and,  dramatically,  even  through  the  factory  stage, 
he  is  able  to  work  out  its  lines  of  organization.  As  the  course  de- 
velops, three  stages  become  apparent.  In  the  primitive  stage, 
working  from  the  inventive  side  the  children  get  a  knowledge  of 
raw  materials,  a  technical  skill  in  handling  them.  They  see  the 
value  of  implements  and  invent  mechanical  devices  for  converting 
the  raw  materials  into  cloth.  Beginning  with  primitive  implements 
—the  distaff,  spindle,  and  loom— each  step  made  is  traced  out,  and 
the  mechanical  advantage  gained  in  the  application  of  the  force 
used  becomes  clear.  The  household  and  domestic  stage  coincides 
with  the  colonial  period.  Here  the  educational  value  is  in  the 
broad,  historical  background  furnished,  and  emphasis  is  laid  on  the 
social  side.  Attention  is  directed  to  the  influence  of  occupation  on 
community  life,  the  growth  of  trade  and  trade  centers  and  the 
manner  in  which  these  have  shifted  and  developed,  to  the  concen- 
tration of  industries  as  conditioned  by  environment,  and  the  climate 
and  soils  of  areas  where  raw  materials  are  produced.  A  general 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

view  is  sought  of  routes  of  trade  and  means  of  transportation  in 
the  development  of  commerce. 

In  the  factory  stage  emphasis  is  laid  upon  the  invention  of  ma- 
chines, showing  the  utilization  of  the  forces  in  nature  which  give 
increased  production.  A  review  is  made  of  machines  from  primitive 
times  to  the  present.  The  mechanics  of  each  are  worked  out,  and  a 
mathematical  calculation  is  made  of  the  amount  of  work  done  by 
each. 

A  study  of  different  fabrics  due  to  the  structure  and  nature  of 
fiber  is  made,  determining  texture,  hydroscopic  nature,  relation  to 
warmth,  inflammability,  etc.  Chemical  processes  involved  in  the 
separation  of  waste  material  were  worked  out  in  the  preparation  of 
raw  material,  the  scouring,  dyeing,  and  steaming. 

Since  space  does  not  permit  a  complete  statement  of  the  whole 
scheme,  the  primitive  stage  has  been  selected  to  show  the  method 
of  work.  As  an  introduction,  seven-year-old  children  gather  together 
what  they  know  from  experience  of  the  difference  in  quality  of 
four  typical  kinds  of  cloth— wool,  silk,  cotton,  and  linen.  They  ex- 
amine their  own  clothing,  pull  to  pieces  samples  of  similar  ma- 
terials, and  get  an  idea  of  different  types  of  fiber.  They  select  the 
fiber  which  they  think  was  probably  used  by  peoples  in  primitive 
conditions  (that  requiring  the  least  preparation)  and  reach  their 
conclusions  by  means  of  the  following  process.  They  unwind  the 
silk  from  a  cocoon,  find  it  fine,  delicate,  and  difficult  to  handle. 
They  remove  the  cotton  from  the  bolls  and  separate  the  seeds  from 
the  fibers— a  tedious  task.  Retted  and  unretted  flax  shows  the  long 
process  of  decay  necessary  to  remove  the  fibers  from  the  stalk.  The 
wool,  however,  which  can  be  twisted  easily  into  thread  with  the 
fingers,  is  invariably  selected.  Each  step  in  the  process  is  so  de- 
pendent on  the  nature  of  the  material  that  the  children  can  make 
the  steps  logically  and  independently.  A  fleece  is  examined,  and 
methods  of  shearing  talked  over.  The  next  step  in  order  would  be 
a  visit  to  a  sheep  ranch.  If  this  is  impossible,  the  children  can 
substitute  photographs  and  stories  of  personal  experiences.  The 
relative  quality  of  the  different  parts  of  the  fleece  is  observed  and 
also  the  duties  of  the  wool  sorter.  Feltings,  tarred  locks,  brands, 
and  wool  from  lower  parts  of  the  legs  are  removed  and  spun  into 
coarser  yarn.  The  long,  clean  wool  from  neck,  breast,  and  shoulders 
is  made  into  yarn  for  the  finer  cloth.  The  back  is  usually  full  of 
burrs  and  more  or  less  matted  and  requires  care  to  get  into  shape 
for  spinning.  The  children  work  out  the  process  in  detail  by  a 
series  of  experiments.  Each  child  tries  spinning  both  "scoured"  and 
raw  wool  for  the  purpose  of  comparison.  The  oily  fibers  of  the  raw 
wool  slip  apart  easily;  the  harsh,  dry  fibers  of  the  scoured  wool 
are  matted  together  and  are  hard  to  manipulate.  Thus  they  find  from 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          333 

experience  the  reason  for  using  unsecured  wool  for  hand  spinning. 

In  order  to  spin  wool  in  any  quantity,  burrs  and  dirt  are  first 
removed  from  the  raw  wool.  One  child  suggested  in  order  to  facili- 
tate the  process:  "If  you  spread  the  fibers  like  a  cobweb,  the  dirt 
will  fall  out."  Three  questions  were  raised  in  the  course  of  the  work: 
How  would  the  fibers  have  to  be  arranged  to  make  an  even  thread? 
How  would  dirt  interfere?  How  would  cross-fibers  interfere  with 
the  evenness  of  the  thread?  At  the  end  of  the  lesson  the  children 
formulated  the  purpose  and  method  of  carding.  The  clean,  fluffy 
mass  of  wool  was  drawn  out  in  a  long  * 'sliver"  one  inch  wide.  Where 
thin  places  occurred,  they  fitted  in  loose  strands  of  wool.  This 
gave  them  a  clearer  idea  of  the  interlocking  of  the  wool,  due  to 
the  wavy  character  of  the  fiber.  Carding  implements  were  worked 
out.  The  fleece,  as  a  whole,  and  even  raw  wool  were  new  to  nearly 
all  the  children.  Many  questions  were  asked  concerning  it,  such 
as:  "What  is  the  difference  between  hair  and  wool?"  Wool  and  hair 
were  examined  under  the  microscope  and  sketches  made  of  the 
microscopic  appearance  of  the  two,  showing  the  rough,  scaly  sur- 
face of  the  wool.  The  children  twisted  the  drawn-out  sliver  of  wool 
to  make  a  thread  by  rolling  it  between  their  fingers  on  the  knee. 
When  the  sliver  was  too  thick,  the  wool  simply  matted  together; 
it  would  not  lock  to  make  a  hard  twisted  thread.  They  tested  the 
difference  between  matted  wool  and  spun  thread,  experimented  to 
find  the  greatest  number  of  fibers  which  would  spin  without  mat- 
ting, and  finally  gathered  smooth  twigs  in  an  open  lot  near  by  and 
wound  their  spun  thread  on  it  to  prevent  tangling. 

The  child  easily  discovers  that  when  the  end  of  the  thread  is  left 
free  and  the  twig  is  dropped,  the  twist  is  lost  and  the  thread  un- 
wound. He  reasons  that  by  twirling  the  twig  in  the  opposite  direc- 
tion the  twig  can  be  made  to  do  the  work  he  had  previously  done 
by  rolling  against  his  knee*  He  discovers  also  that  when  the  twig 
is  weighted  with  thread  it  draws  out  the  carded  wool  and  assists 
in  the  spinning.  So  the  twig  is  weighted  artificially  with  clay,  stone, 
or  wood,  and  the  wheel  is  suggested  with  its  use  in  balancing  and 
giving  greater  speed  to  the  spinning.  The  advantage  of  having 
the  wheel  in  the  shape  of  a  disk  is  worked  out  by  the  children 
realizing  that  an  uneven  distribution  of  weight  interferes  with  the 
smoothness  of  the  motion  of  the  spindle. 

The  distaff  and  spindle  were  made  in  the  shop,  and  each  child 
practiced  spinning  a  fine,  smooth  thread.  They  compared  this  with 
hand-spinning  and  showed  that  it  took  less  time  and  labor  to  pro- 
duce the  same  amount  of  thread,  many  more  fibers  being  made  to 
interlock,  and  the  thread  more  uniformly  twisted.  Thus,  by  com- 
parison, they  were  brought  to  realize  the  use  of  this  first  advance 
step  in  spinning.  The  thread  was  made  rather  fine  for  weaving.  It 


334  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

was  compared  with  the  factory  yarn,  which  was  unraveled  and  found 
to  consist  of  three  and  four  strands.  Separating  these  strands  they 
found  the  twisted  parallel  fibers  of  wool.  After  having  analyzed  the 
structure  of  the  thread  in  this  manner,  they  prepared  to  make 
"three-ply"  yarn  of  the  thread  they  had  spun.  They  worked  out  the 
idea  that  the  strands  would  have  to  be  spun  together  in  the  same 
manner  as  they  had  spun  the  yarn,  that  the  various  strands  would 
have  to  be  drawn  out  evenly,  thus  necessitating  a  frame  on  which 
the  bobbins  could  revolve. 

The  yarn  was  finally  ready  to  be  scoured  and  dyed.  From  previous 
experience  the  children  knew  the  yarn  would  have  to  be  in  loose 
hanks  to  dye  evenly.  They  wound  the  skeins  about  the  backs  of 
two  chairs,  one  child  delivering  the  yarn  from  the  bobbin  while 
another  regulated  it.  They  found  it  slow  work  and  succeeded  in 
making  very  small  skeins.  They  decided  to  make  something  similar 
to  the  bobbin  frame  upon  which  to  wind  the  skeins.  Colonial  reels 
were  examined,  and  a  simple  one  made  in  the  shop.  The  yarn  from 
the  spindles  was  wound  into  loose  hanks  for  dyeing.  The  yarn 
was  scoured  and  dyed  in  the  science  periods. 

As  a  preparation  for  weaving,  cloth  was  examined  and  its  struc- 
ture and  texture  compared  with  the  mats  and  baskets  they  had 
previously  woven.  The  fact  that  weaving  of  materials  that  did  not 
require  spinning  must  have  long  preceded  the  invention  of  spin- 
ning was  shown  in  the  following  manner.  The  textile  work  of  the 
primitive  peoples  of  today  was  examined  and  found  to  consist 
chiefly  of  grasses  and  various  other  raw  materials.  The  beaten 
bark  or  "tapa"  of  the  Hawaiians  was  examined  to  show  the  inter- 
lacing of  the  fibers.  The  probable  discovery  of  the  shepherd  who- 
found  the  cast  fleece  matted  together  after  the  exposure  to  rain 
and  sun  was  told  as  a  story.  The  effect  of  water  and  heat  on  wool 
was  tried  and  in  some  cases  resulted  in  a  fine  piece  of  felt.  The 
weaving  of  a  rush  mat  from  the  chance  placing  of  the  reeds,  form- 
ing a  sort  of  pattern  on  the  clay  floor  of  a  primitive  hut,  was  given 
as  a  probable  origin  of  pattern  weaving.  The  children  gave  the 
cocoon,  the  bird's  nest,  and  the  spider's  web  as  instances  of  weav- 
ing. In  the  cloth  the  interlacing  was  found  to  be  regularly  adjusted 
into  two  sets  of  threads,  respectively  "warp"  and  "woof."  Each 
child  explained  his  way  of  constructing  a  loom.  Two  rods  held 
the  warp  in  position;  two  cross-rods  kept  it  stretched;  and  a  weav- 
ing needle  was  used  to  insert  the  woof.  The  woof  and  warp  were 
made  of  the  thread  the  children  had  spun.  .  .  . 

The  inspection  of  different  fabrics  and  fibers  for  the  sake  of 
forming  a  conclusion  regarding  their  adaptability  to  certain  pur- 
poses gives  training  to  the  children's  powers  of  observation.  These 
are  ideal  occasions  for  both  sense  training  and  discipline  in  thought. 


BACKGROUNDS  OF  SOCIAL  LIFE          335 

The  weakness  of  ordinary  lessons  in  observation,  calculated  to  train 
the  senses,  is  that  they  have  no  outlet  beyond  themselves  and  hence 
no  necessary  motive.  In  the  natural  life  of  the  individual  and  the 
race,  there  is  always  a  reason  for  sense  observation.  There  is  always 
some  need  coming  from  an  end  to  be  reached  that  makes  one  look 
about  to  discover  and  discriminate  whatever  will  assist  him.  Nor- 
mal sensations  operate  as  clues,  as  aids,  as  stimuli  in  directing  ac- 
tivity in  what  has  to  be  done;  they  are  not  ends  in  themselves.  .  .  . 

Again  this  method  involves  the  exercise  of  judgment.  The  ability 
to  think  and  the  method  of  thinking  are  part  and  parcel  of  all  the 
reinventing  and  the  rediscovering.  Thinking  does  not  occur  for  its 
own  sake;  it  is  not  an  end  in  itself.  It  arises  from  the  need  of  meet- 
ing some  difficulty,  in  reflecting  upon  the  best  way  of  overcoming  it, 
and  thus  leads  to  planning,  to  projecting  mentally  the  end  to  be 
reached,  and  deciding  upon  the  steps  necessary.  The  tool  and  method 
of  going  to  work  are  always  seen  to  be  dependent  upon  the  material 
on  the  one  side  and  the  result  to  be  attained  on  the  other.  These  be- 
ing given,  to  find  the  third  term  is  the  problem,  surely  as  logical  an 
exercise  as  any  in  geometry.  It  has  the  added  advantage  of  being 
concrete  and  of  calling  the  constructive  imagination  into  play.  .  .  . 

All  of  the  activities  correlate  with  the  historical  work  and  give  a 
background  which  makes  the  later  study  of  economics  much  more 
fruitful  and  concrete.  Similar  connections  are  made  with  the  nature 
study  as  regards  the  materials  used  and  the  plants  and  animals  pro- 
ducing them,  with  physical  geography  as  regards  conditions  of  soil 
or  climate  and  the  sources  of  the  raw  materials,  and  with  commercial 
geography  as  regards  the  manufacture  and  distribution  of  the  fin- 
ished products. 

Manual  construction  is  continuously  required.  Each  child  carries 
out  his  idea  into  concrete  form.  The  shop  becomes  the  laboratory 
where  he  manufactures  his  spindle  or  his  loom,  and  the  color  or 
design  of  the  working  plan  all  enlist  the  aid  of  the  art  department. 

All  of  these  aspects  meet  in  and  radiate  from  the  continuous  and 
direct  activity  or  occupation  of  the  children  themselves.  From  the 
standpoint  of  the  child  there  is  but  one  thing  going  on.  He  is 
occupied  with  making  things,  with  weaving,  designing,  cutting;  he 
is  busy  doing  something  which  appeals  alike  to  feeling,  perception, 
imagination,  judgment,  and  manual  skill.  All  of  his  power  and 
emotions  are  utilized  in  an  activity  which  interests  him. 


CHAPTER   XVII 

EXPERIMENTAL 

ACTIVITIES     DEVELOPING     SKILLS 
IN     COMMUNICATION     AND     EXPRESSION 

JLHE  third  group  of  studies  in  the  Laboratory  School's 
curricular  classification  included  reading,  writing,  the  more 
technical  forms  of  measurement,  and  the  various  arts  of  ex- 
pression. The  children  of  the  school  gradually  awoke  to  the 
need  and  grew  into  an  appreciation  of  the  use  of  these  various 
forms  of  intellectual  communication  and  inquiry.  This  need 
and  appreciation  were  met  in  and  developed  out  of  the  daily 
activities  of  their  steadily  enlarging  program.  As  the  physical 
organism  increases  in  size  and  ability  to  function  only  as  it 
takes  in  and  assimilates  food  suitable  to  its  needs,  so  mental 
growth  occurs  only  as  knowledge  is  used  in  action  to  enlarge 
the  meaning  of  action  and  further  its  end.  Judgment  to  select 
and  skill  to  use  knowledge  are  essential  to  its  swift  assimila- 
tion into  experience.  In  the  immature  child,  certain  original 
impulses  are  available,  and  the  growth  of  the  child  depends 
upon  their  exercise.1  The  social  impulse  shows  itself  in  con- 
versation, personal  intercourse,  and  communication.  Gesture 
and  language  are  the  simplest  form  of  the  social  expression  of 
a  child.  They  arise  out  of  need  to  communicate  something 
about  a  social  situation.  Language,  therefore,  in  these  early 
stages  of  growth,  is  used  primarily  as  a  means  of  social  com- 
munication and  not  for  the  expression  of  thought. 
The  instinct  to  self-expression  in  action  is  one  of  the  earliest 

i  These  are  roughly  classified  by  Mr.  Dewey  as:  (i)  the  social,  (2)  the 
constructive,  (3)  the  investigative,  and  (4)  the  expressive.  This  classification 
he  still  further  simplifies  by  finding  that,  in  the  process  of  development, 
(3)  and  (4)  grow  out  of  (2)  and  (i). 

336 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     337 

of  the  developing  impulses.  The  dawn  of  social  consciousness, 
however,  follows  soon,  and  with  it  there  is  born  the  desire  to 
share,  to  tell  about  the  results  of  activity.  These  may  be  daubs 
of  color  on  paper,  a  weird  clay  man,  a  house  of  blocks,  or  the 
story  of  a  day's  doings,  but  each  in  turn  is  the  concrete  embodi- 
ment of  the  child's  idea.  Under  the  stimulus  of  this  desire  to 
communicate  to  others  he  searches  for  and  welcomes  all  ways 
and  means  of  letting  others  know  what  he  has  done  and  of 
finding  out  a  still  better  way  of  doing.  This  then  is  the  psy- 
chological moment  to  teach  him  the  means  for  such  sharing  of 
his  ideas. 


USE   OF   LANGUAGE  DURING  EARLY  STAGES  OF   GROWTH 

Beginning  with  a  hit-and-miss  method,  the  subsequent  end- 
less experimentation  of  a  baby  in  producing  sounds  is  rein- 
forced by  the  selective  response  of  adults.  He  gradually  elim- 
inates the  sounds  which  are  not  language  and  builds  up, 
through  imitation,  a  word  vocabulary  in  which  each  word  is 
always  related  to  an  actual  object  or  situation.  He  retains  those 
sounds  or  words  which  bring  him  food,  comfort,  and  the  con- 
dition of  play  which  he  desires.  Similarly,  he  later  patterns 
his  sentence  structure  after  that  of  the  adults  in  the  spon- 
taneous conversation  of  the  home,  and  "I"  replaces  "me"  after 
many  efforts. 

In  this  school,  which  was  in  character  a  continuation  of  the 
home,  each  recitation  was  preeminently  a  social  meeting  place 
where  organized  spontaneous  conversation  went  on  along  dif- 
ferent lines.  It  was  the  social  clearing-house  in  which  experi- 
ences and  ideas  were  exchanged  and  subjected  to  criticism, 
where  misconceptions  were  corrected  and  new  lines  of  thought 
and  inquiry  set  up. 

Although  the  consecutive  study  of  the  place  and  function 
of  language  in  this  school,  either  oral  or  written,  was  never 
summarized,  certain  observations  as  to  the  child's  interests  and 
attainments  in  verbal  and  written  expression  can  be  made: 
first,  as  to  the  incidental  use  of  all  verbal  or  written  symbols 
as  forms  of  social  expression,  particularly  in  the  first  stage  of 


338  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

growth  and  In  the  second,  as  to  the  gradual  development  by  the 
child  of  conscious  recognition  of  need  for  and  skill  in  the  formu- 
lation and  use  of  the  rules  of  grammatical  construction  and  of 
those  traits  which  give  literary  distinction  and  form  to  writing 
as  the  expression  of  thought  and  emotion. 

Continual  contact  with  actual  experience  stimulated  the 
children  to  a  full  and  free  use  of  language.  Each  child  always 
had  a  variety  of  material  and  facts  in  his  mind  to  talk  about, 
and  his  language  constantly  became  more  refined  and  full  be- 
cause controlled  by  realities.  Little  by  little  the  written  symbols 
for  the  words  already  familiar  to  his  tongue  and  ear  were  in- 
troduced, still  in  natural  relation  to  experience.  By  them  the 
child  found  he  could  keep  track  of  his  work  from  day  to  day; 
by  them  he  could  give  to  others  the  results  of  his  own  special 
activity;  and  by  them  his  own  consciousness  was  widened.  He 
thus  himself  discovered  the  use  of  written  language  in  its 
natural  relation  to  experience. 

The  occasions  in  which  his  attention  was  directed  to  form 
in  either  spoken  or  written  language  were  the  same  as  those 
in  actual  life,  situations  outside  of  the  school.  They  were  the  re- 
ports of  work  to  the  general  assembly,  for  the  newspaper,  or 
for  an  individual  contribution  to  a  group  story  or  play.  At 
such  times  of  formulation  and  composition,  hints  were  given 
as  to  clarity  in  sentence  structure,  as  well  as  the  use  of  climax 
and  interest.  The  child  thus  became  conscious  of  the  structure 
of  the  sentence,  of  the  place  and  use  of  modifying  words  in 
phrases,  and  of  the  position  of  the  latter  in  the  sentence,  and 
of  the  need  for  paragraph  form.  Finally  he  came  to  see  that 
a  unified  structure  which  has  clarity  and  climactic  interest 
depends  upon  order  and  sequence  of  the  material.  In  the  oral 
delivery  of  these  contributions,  help  in  proper  enunciation, 
posture  and  interpretation  found  its  natural  place.  Expert  di- 
rection was  welcome  because  the  children  felt  the  need  of  being 
able  consciously  to  correct  their  faults  and  gain  in  ability  to 
express  their  ideas  by  voice  and  gesture. 

The  teaching  of  language  was  at  all  times  a  subject  of  dis- 
cussion and  concern  for  all  teachers.  It  was  of  untold  advantage 
that  the  teaching  was  never  divorced  from  reality.  The  chil- 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     339, 

dren's  records  were  the  accounts  of  their  daily  experiences  and 
showed  unusual  clarity  and  a  certain  literary  flavor.  An  ap- 
preciation of  the  color  quality  inherent  in  words  was  cultivated 
and  developed  by  constant  dramatization  of  situations  and 
characters.  This  was  helped  on  by  the  enjoyment  of  good 
stories,  which  were  used  sparingly,  as  they  should  be,  and  were 
of  such  character  that  they  reinforced  and  thus  became  an 
integral  part  or  expression  of  the  children's  own  experiences. 
Conversation  was  the  means  of  developing  and  directing, 
experiences  and  enterprises  in  all  the  classrooms.  The  small  size 
of  the  groups  made  individual  contribution  to  the  group  ex- 
perience possible.  Each  day's  recitation  was  a  debate,  a  dis- 
cussion of  the  pros  and  cons  of  the  next  step  in  the  group's 
activity.  The  comparative  ease  with  which  these  children  were 
able  to  debate  in  their  subsequent  secondary  and  college  ex- 
perience showed  the  worth  of  this  type  of  recitation.  Initiative 
and  freedom  in  any  situation  were  characteristics  of  the  older 
children  of  this  school.  Language  was  to  them  all  a  tool  by 
which  they  could  convey  to  others  the  effect  produced  on 
them  by  some  fact,  event,  or  social  situation.  It  had  come  to- 
be  more  than  a  means  of  social  communication;  it  was  a 
medium  of  expressing  thought.  In  the  secondary  period,  there- 
fore, these  children  were  ready  to  enter  into  a  conscious  analysis- 
of  language  as  such  and  to  generalize  and  formulate  rules  which 
would  help  them  attain  the  skill  demanded  by  literary  tastes* 
and  artistic  standards. 


USE  OF  NUMBER  AND  TOOLS  OF  MEASUREMENT 

The  instinct  to  measure  by  counting,  which  is  also  a  form  of 
communication,  springs  to  consciousness  in  response  to  a  felt 
need  in  the  social  situation  of  a  little  child.  It  is  continually 
reinforced  by  adults'  repetitions  of  nursery  rhymes,  such  as< 
"One,  Two,  Buckle  My  Shoe."  By  the  time  the  four-year-old 
child  arrives  at  school  he  has  in  his  own  experience  a  back- 
ground of  contact  and  acquaintance  with  social  and  physical 
realities.  Out  of  this  fertile  soil  will  grow  his  first  concepts  of 
the  use  of  the  symbols  of  language,  quantity,  or  value.  Just  as- 


34o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

he  has  quite  an  extensive  vocabulary  and  consciously  uses  it 
to  supply  his  needs  and  express  his  crude  ideas,  so  he  has  some- 
thing of  a  conception  of  the  use  of  numbers  to  evaluate  his 
possessions  (in  the  sense  of  knowing  to  a  limited  extent  how 
many  marbles  he  has).  Of  the  meaning  of  numbers  in  its  more 
technical  and  implicit  meaning,  that  of  measuring  with  meas- 
ured units,  he  has,  as  yet,  no  consciousness,  just  as  he  has,  as  yet, 
no  conception  of  the  use  of  language  as  a  medium  of  expressing 
thought.  The  underlying  psychology  of  language  and  number 
are,  therefore,  seen  to  be  similar.  Both  are  forms  of  intellectual 
communication  with  oral  and  written  conventionalized  symbols 
that  stand  for  ideas.  The  use  of  both  first  arises  out  of  the  need 
to  get  over  to  some  one  else  something  important  in  the  physi- 
cal or  social  situation.  By  conscious  design  the  child  met,  in 
the  school,  a  constantly  increasing  demand  for  the  use  of  lan- 
guage and  number  symbols.  In  the  latter,  the  idea  of  quantity 
in  concrete  form  always  preceded  and  accompanied  the  use  of 
abstract  number  symbols. 

For  the  younger  children  the  teaching  of  language  and  num- 
ber went  on  in  relation  to  the  daily  activities  of  the  child.  The 
sub-primary  child  of  four  or  five,  as  he  set  the  table  for 
luncheon,  at  first  laid  down  one  spoon  each  for  Mary,  John, 
and  Ellen.  His  next  step,  when  standjpg  by  the  silver  basket, 
was  to  count  out  loud,  "One,  two,  three,  no!  four,  one  for  the 
teacher/'  When,  however,  he  replied  to  the  teacher's  question, 
"How  many  persons  are  coming  to  lunch?"  by  answering, 
"Four,"  and  then,  going  to  the  silver  basket,  counted  the  right 
number  of  spoons,  he  showed  that  he  had  begun  to  use  words 
as  symbols.  The  importance  of  this  appreciation  by  the  child 
of  the  connection  between  the  concrete  situation  and  the 
symbol,  the  linking  in  his  mind  of  the  concrete  situation  to  the 
symbol,  cannot  be  over  emphasized.  A  child  who  has  not  made 
this  connection  often  goes  on  repeating  his  "one,  two,"  etc.,  up 
to  eight  or  nine,  with  frequent  omission  of  one  or  two  of  the 
series.  This  is  because  he  does  not  comprehend  the  meaning 
of  the  enumeration,  because  he  has  never  linked  counting  to 
a  concrete  situation  where  there  is  a  need  for  counting.  When 
"four"  means  to  him  not  only  four  people,  four  spoons,  etc., 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION      341 

but  means,  in  addition,  a  way  of  matching  these  unlike  things 
through  the  agency  of  a  number  symbol  common  to  both,  he 
may  be  said  to  have  begun  to  count. 

In  his  cooking  at  the  school  the  child  learned  that  one  cup 
of  flaked  rice  took  one  cup  of  water.  He  compared  one  cup  of 
flaked  rice  with  a  granular  cereal  on  a  balance  and  found  that 
the  smaller  bulk,  but  same  weight  of  the  latter  also  required  one 
cup  of  water.  When  he  found  by  measuring  that  he  had  one 
fourth  cup  of  this  cereal,  it  was  not  difficult  for  him  to  conclude 
that  one  fourth  of  a  cup  of  a  certain  kind  of  cereal  will  take 
four  times  its  quantity  of  water  to  cook  properly.  He  then  ex- 
perimented with  another  cereal  and  found  that  it  requires  only 
twice  as  much.  His  use  of  numbers  in  the  two  experiments- 
brings  him  to  his  first  end,  the  ascertaining  of  the  amount  of 
water  that  both  cereals  require.  He  then  compares  the  two  and 
uses  numbers  as  a  means  to  express  this  comparison  in  symbolic 
form.  He  has  now  taken  another  step,  passing  to  an  apprecia- 
tion of  the  idea  of  ratio  which  is  implicit  in  all  numbers. 

This  concrete  manipulation  of  quantity  included  compari- 
sons of  weights  and  distances,  and  so  on,  and  was  followed  by 
a  more  definite  use  of  the  symbols  of  enumeration  and  rela- 
tion for  the  purpose  of  anticipating  consequences  and,  there- 
fore, controlling  results. 

From  a  qualitative  judgment  of  amount  the  child  progresses 
to  a  definite  control  of  quantity  through  symbols.  Still  an- 
other step  is  made  as  the  child  learns  the  different  kinds  of 
measures.  Instead  of  halving  the  length  of  string  to  find  half 
of  the  garden  (the  method  of  the  young  child),  the  older  meas- 
ured with  the  yardstick  and  divided  the  number  by  two.  In 
one  activity  he  uses  the  ruler.  In  another  he  must  regulate  his 
action  by  a  unit  of  time.  With  the  idea  that  his  actions  are 
controlled  by  a  time-unit,  he  gets  his  first  approach  to  the  se- 
quence of  on-going  events,  in  home  situations  as  well  as  in 
school.  The  youngest  group  visited  the  baker's  shop,  saw  the 
oven  and  the  utensils  which  were  used  in  cooking.  The  head 
baker  made  some  little  cakes,  while  the  children  watched  to 
get  some  idea  of  the  process.  They  waited  fifteen  minutes  to 
see  them  taken  out,  which  gave  the  children  a  deeper  interest 


342  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

in  time  and  its  measurement  by  the  clock.  They  gradually 
discovered  there  was  a  time  for  everything,  a  time  for  work,  a 
time  for  play,  a  time  to  sleep,  and  a  time  to  eat.  When  the 
clock  in  the  kindergarten  said  it  was  time  to  begin  or  stop 
work  or  play,  it  was  a  universal  law  to  be  obeyed  by  both 
teachers  and  pupils.  When  the  question  arose,  "Can't  I  do 
just  a  few  more?"  the  answer  came,  "But  the  clock  says  it  is 
time  to  put  the  work  away,"  and  this  was  accepted  without 
dispute.  This  conception  of  what  time  is  functions  so  differ- 
ently at  different  ages  that  the  stage  at  which  he  perfects 
different  ideas  needs  more  recorded  observations  by  many 
teachers.  Where  activities  of  a  child's  environment  are  defi- 
nitely regulated  by  the  time  seasons,  as  in  rural  situations,  the 
latter  with  their  causes  will  be  taught  much  earlier  than  with 
children  not  so  situated.  City  children,  isolated  from  nature, 
may  get  this  knowledge  through  the  importance  of  the  calendar 
to  a  people  whose  activities  they  are  studying. 

A  child  becomes  interested  not  only  in  the  origin  of  the  sym- 
bols for  number,  but  in  measurement  units  of  all  kinds. 
Through  his  appreciation  of  primitive  man's  use  of  sun  and 
moon  as  time  measurers,  he  takes  interest  in  his  own  calendar. 
This  generally  happens  first  in  connection  with  something  that 
intimately  concerns  him,  such  as  his  own  birthday  or  the 
first  day  of  school.  His  ability  to  read  the  clock,  which  has 
been  progressing  slowly,  is  usually  perfected  about  this  time. 
His  ideas  continually  enlarge  through  his  daily  experience. 
Whereas  once  he  measured  his  garden  by  the  number  of  his 
own  paces,  he  now  begins  to  use  the  yardstick  or  the  ruler  to 
find  how  his  patch  compares  with  the  length  of  his  neighbor's. 
A  study  of  the  Phoenicians,  who  adapted  and  simplified 
through  use  the  symbols  of  the  scholarly  Assyrians  and  Egyp- 
tians, gave  the  child  of  eight  the  historical  basis  of  our  present 
alphabets  and  numerical  systems.  At  this  age  children  begin, 
because  of  their  needs,  to  grow  eager  for  facility  in  ordinary 
number  combinations.  They  gladly  submit  to  drill  in  order 
to  attain  such  facility.  If  they  are  allowed  to  discover  for  them- 
selves such  things  as  the  place  of  digits,  tens,  hundreds,  etc., 
in  our  system  of  notation,  they  work  out  their  own  rules  for 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     343 

adding  and  subtracting,  multiplying  and  dividing.  When  a 
child  in  the  school  found  it  necessary  to  add  %  and  %  of  a 
foot  he  proceeded  in  natural  logical  fashion  from  the  known 
to  the  unknown.  He  knew  one  foot  as  12  inches.  He  then  con- 
sulted the  ruler  and  saw  that  the  %  is  4  inches  and  that  %  is 
3  inches.  Their  sum  he  easily  calculated  as  7  inches  or  %2  °^  a 
foot.  Then,  if  ready  for  such  abstractions,  he  would  himself 
say  that  to  add  fractions  they  must  be  the  same  "kind  of  parts 
of  anything."  He  was  then  ready  to  add  a  quarter  and  a  half- 
dollar,  usually  by  saying  that  a  half  is  2  quarters,  so  he  has 
3  quarters.  He  was,  however,  often  able  to  do  this  concretely 
for  some  time  before  he  was  able  to  state  what  is  done  when 
fractions  are  added.  At  this  stage,  he  was  given  the  terms 
numerator  and  denominator  and  understood  that  the  figure 
above  the  line  tells  the  number  of  parts  taken,  while  the  one 
below  tells  how  many  of  these  parts  there  are  in  a  unit.  As  the 
work  often  involved  the  use  of  fractions  the  child  liked  this 
new  and  convenient  tool.  He  did  not  have  to  go  back  to  the 
ruler  or  the  cup  each  time  and  count  how  much  he  had.  The 
ability  to  abstract  and  formulate  began  gradually  at  about 
nine  years  of  age. 

The  hard-and-fast  distinction  between  arithmetic  and  algebra 
was  broken  down  in  various  ways,  such  as  the  use  of  letters  to 
represent  quantities  when  writing  formulae  for  examples  (base 
x  rate  =  percentage  (bxr  =  p).  In  early  practice  in  weighing, 
the  idea  of  an  equation  was  given  as  a  way  of  representing  the 
drawing  power  of  the  earth  on  different  objects.  The  earth- 
pull  on  an  object  on  one  side  of  the  balance  is  equal  to  the 
earth-pull  on  a  number  of  objects  on  the  other  (i.  e.,  the 
weights)  and  was  represented  symbolically  in  series  as  x  (the 
unknown  weight)  =  a  +  b  +  c. 

As  the  children  made  simple  machines,  scales,  a  wheeled 
cart,  a  wheelbarrow,  a  potter's  wheel,  small  and  large  looms, 
a  pile-driver,  a  foot  automobile,  they  formulated  and  made  use 
of  equations  of  ratios  and  proportion.  This  kind  of  concrete 
experience  enabled  them  to  identify  the  various  kinds  of  levers 
in  their  machines.  They  studied  the  principle  of  the  nut 
cracker,  traced  the  invention  of  the  wheeled  cart,  and  discovered 


344  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  advantage  gained  through  the  invention  of  the  hub.  They 
discovered  the  advantage  of  the  wheelbarrow  and  the  principle 
involved  in  gears,  in  clocks,  and  locks;  they  studied  the  use  and 
transfer  of  energy  in  the  treadle  and  spindle  of  a  spinning- 
wheel  or  in  the  gear  of  a  bicycle.  All  of  this  work  was  used 
as  offering  occasions  for  the  child  to  investigate  and  discover 
for  himself  the  everyday  uses  of  mechanical  principles  in- 
volved in  the  various  kinds  of  balances  and  pulleys  and  to 
point  out  the  differences  by  the  use  of  diagram  and  equation. 
The  children  continually  used  ratio  with  skill  and  apprecia- 
tion in  demonstrating  the  relation  of  the  diameter  of  wheels 
to  the  circumference  or  the  laws  of  the  three  types  of  levers. 
Such  use  in  genuine  situations  and  with  simple  machines 
furthers  a  child's  intellectual  understanding  of  the  compli- 
cated mechanisms  and  intricate  arithmetical  formulae  used  in 
work  with  the  intricate  forms  of  machines,  which  he  sees  and 
deals  with  later. 

Mechanical  drawing  was  used  in  making  compasses,  and  a 
simple  astrolade,  in  calculating  the  hour  circle  and  distances  on 
a  globe,  and  in  finding  latitude  from  the  altitude  of  the  north 
star.  These  problems  served  as  an  introduction  to  and  use  of 
intuitive  geometrical  demonstrations. 

To  the  mathematician,  who  has  forgotten  the  way  he  came, 
it  seems  a  long  jump  from  the  child's  use  of  number  in  count- 
ing out  his  blocks,  or  in  the  control  of  his  game,  to  the 
physicist's  use  of  measurement  in  the  construction  of  a  work- 
ing theory  of  matter.  To  the  psychologist  and  to  the  educator 
the  need  of  number  for  control  through  its  function  of  evalua- 
tion is  die  same  for  the  child  in  his  concrete  world,  as  for 
the  physicist  in  his. 

An  historical  study  of  the  slow  development  of  arithmetic 
will  give  guiding  principles  to  the  teacher  of  little  children. 
Originating  as  a  means  of  trade  control,  it  passed  slowly 
through  the  rule-otthumb  period  and  has  just  culminated  in 
the  most  modern  of  engineering  exploits.  When  the  teacher 
realizes  how  late  in  the  race  development  abstraction  occurs, 
he  will  be  content  to  multiply  endlessly  the  occasions  to  use 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     345 

number  concretely  in  his  dealings  with  young  children.  At  all 
times,  he  must  watch  for  the  psychological  time  and  place  to 
introduce  symbols  and  the  opportunity  to  formulate  generali- 
zations. 

The  recognition  that  the  complicated  formulae  of  the 
physicist  as  a  means  of  valuation  and  control  have  evolved 
from  a  simple  use  of  counting  by  the  savage  gave  important 
educational  implications  for  those  directing  this  experiment. 
It  gave  confidence  in  the  outcome  of  this  approach  to  mathe- 
matical method.  It  eliminated  the  too  frequent  unintelligent 
and  often  blind  following  of  historical  details  without  refer- 
ence to  their  relation  to  the  needs  and  demands  of  physical 
and  social  situations.  With  aid  and  under  direction  as  he  plays 
his  games  and  makes  his  simple  and  more  complex  machines, 
a  child  can  be  led  to  understand  and  use  the  principles  and 
formulae  of  control  in  the  more  and  more  abstract  forms, 
which  finally  eventuate  in  the  various  algebraic  and  trigono- 
metric formulae  and,  at  the  college  level,  in  differential  func- 
tions and  calculus.  With  such  mathematical  training,  based 
on  the  appreciation  of  each  step  through  concrete  demonstra- 
tion, a  student,  as  he  passes  from  field  to  field  in  mathematics, 
is  quite  aware  that  he  is  simply  using  more  and  more  refined 
tools  to  control  the  heterogeneous  miscellany  of  the  physical 
and  social  world.  Always,  at  whatever  stage,  number  was  taught 
not  as  number  but  as  a  means  through  which  some  activity, 
undertaken  on  its  own  account,  was  rendered  more  orderly 
and  effective.  In  this  way  it  afforded  insight  into  the  ways  in 
which  man  actually  employs  numerical  relations  in  social  life. 

On  the  whole  the  more  direct  modes  of  activity,  the  con- 
struction and  occupational  work,  the  scientific  observation 
and  experimentation,  presented  plenty  of  opportunities  for  the 
necessary  use  of  reading,  writing,  spelling,  and  number  work. 
These  subjects,  therefore,  were  not  isolated  studies,  but  were 
introduced  as  organic  outgrowths  of  the  child's  daily  experi- 
ence. The  problem  was  always  to  take  advantage  of  these  op- 
portunities in  a  systematic  and  progressive  way.  When  this 
was  done  successfully,  the  children  needed  to  devote  much  less 


346  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

time  to  tool  study  than  is  usually  the  case.  It  was  also  found 
that  at  certain  periods  of  their  development  the  children 
enjoyed  playing  with  symbols  just  as  babies,  learning  to  talk, 
play  with  words.  At  a  later  age  when  given  accurate  com- 
passes and  ruler,  children  find  similar  pleasure  in  the  possi- 
bilities of  geometric  design. 

There  were  mistakes  and  failures  made  in  this  new  way  of 
teaching  the  time-honored  subjects.  With  certain  groups  of 
children  the  teaching  of  writing  and  reading  was  postponed 
too  long,  with  the  result  that  certain  children  had  progressed 
intellectually  so  far  that  the  belated  learning  of  the  symbols, 
which  at  an  earlier  period  would  have  been  enjoyed,  was 
irksome.  Such  children  often  marked  time,  as  it  were,  and  only 
learned  to  read  when  a  special  interest  stimulated  them  to  the 
necessary  effort. 

Experience  repeatedly  showed  that  in  those  studies  where 
mastery  of  technique  or  special  method  was  necessary,  there 
was  need  for  a  periodic  concentration  and  alternation  in  the 
time  devoted  to  them.  When  a  group,  for  example,  found  them- 
selves weak  in  a  certain  arithmetical  operation  or  in  language 
expression  and,  therefore,  handicapped  in  their  other  work, 
work  on  this  was  emphasized  until  the  children  exhibited  to 
their  own  satisfaction  a  power  and  skill  sufficient  to  enable 
them  to  go  ahead  in  an  independent  fashion. 

This  method  of  teaching  gave  rise  to  the  conviction  that 
children  should  learn  that  mathematical  expressions  only  cover 
a  part  of  experience  with  physical  things,  that  mathematics  is  a 
tool  which  fits  only  a  certain  kind  of  universe,  and  that  its 
expressions  cannot  be  used  as  a  basis  of  the  whole  of  experience* 
They  should  be  aware  that  much  is  still  unknown  of  mathe- 
matical relations,  and  that  the  latter  leave  other  kinds  of  rela- 
tions untouched.  They  thus  gain  no  concept  that  all  experience 
is  mechanical  and  mathematically  measurable,  but  are  left  with 
many  open  doors  through  which  individual  thinking  may  pass. 
In  conclusion,  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  that  the  children  of 
this  school  used  the  symbols  of  language  and  calculation  more 
intelligently  and  less  mechanically  than  most,  and  with  a  cer- 
tain sense  of  power  in  their  expression. 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     347 

ARTISTIC  EXPRESSION 

The  drama  and  literature,  the  music,  modeling  and  paint- 
ing of  the  school  program,  all  the  expressive  activities  at  all 
stages  of  growth,  were  the  child's  means  of  social  intercourse, 
his  modes  of  communication,  as  well  as  avenues  for  individual 
expression.  As  he  developed  in  this  carefully  guided  experi- 
ence, first  steps  grew  into  finer  and  fuller  expressions  of  social 
and  constructive  impulses.  It  was  the  ideal  and  the  hope  of  the 
school  that  all  the  developing  play  of  productive  and  manipu- 
lating activities,  the  play  which  is  not  mere  amusement  or 
recreation,  should  become  surcharged  with  joy  and  satisfac- 
tion in  its  performance  and  with  such  social  and  scientific 
meanings  that  this  association,  once  made,  should  never  be 
lost. 

In  a  recent  letter  recalling  memories  of  her  Dewey  School 
days,  one  of  the  older  pupils  of  the  school  writes: 

To  outsiders  who  did  not  understand  what  went  on,  the  daily 
curriculum  seemed  a  grand  jubilee.  Children  apparently  played 
through  history  and  English  classes,  cooked  through  arithmetic  and 
science  hours,  and  so  on.  Surely  no  real  study  went  on  with  such 
antics;  surely  no  essentials  of  grammar  grades  and  high  schools  were 
learned.  Then,  to  a  confused  amazement,  the  supposed  madcaps 
entered  colleges  and  universities  and  acquitted  themselves  creditably 
with  conventionally  prepared  students. 

This  memory  seems  to  indicate  that  the  school  work  of  those 
days  was  often  like  play,  a  freely  productive  sort  of  activity 
that  filled  the  imagination  and  the  emotions  of  the  writer  as 
well  as  her  hands  to  such  a  degree  that  thirty  years  later  she 
still  thrills  with  its  joyful  memories. 

Drama  played  a  large  part  in  these  activities.  In  the  early 
years,  the  classroom  work  was  often  a  continued  play  of  the 
unfolding  drama  of  human  life.  The  children  handled  raw 
materials  of  many  kinds  and  had  the  satisfaction  of  shaping 
them  to  their  own  planned  ends.  Under  guidance  these  results 
grew  into  more  and  more  finished  products  of  greater  mean- 
ing and  artistic  value.  It  has  been  well  said  that:  2  "Art  is  not 


2  John  Dewey,  "Culture  and  Industry  in  Education/'  The  Educational  Bi- 
Monthly,  Vol.  i,  No.  i. 


348  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

an  outer  product  nor  an  outer  behavior.  It  is  an  attitude  of 
spirit,  a  state  of  mind— one  which  demands  for  its  satisfaction 
and  fulfilling  a  shaping  of  matter  to  new  and  more  significant 
form.  To  feel  the  meaning  of  what  one  is  doing  and  to  re- 
joice in  that  meaning,  to  unite  in  one  concurrent  fact  the 
unfolding  of  die  inner  life  and  the  ordered  development  of 
material  conditions— that  is  art." 

The  school  seems  to  have  had  a  groping  faith  that  genuine 
artistic  expression  in  any  medium  may  grow  out  of  the  manual 
arts  and  carry  on  to  their  spiritual  meaning  many  of  the 
processes  of  everyday  life.  This  did  not  mean  that  all  art  work 
was  to  be  correlated  in  detail  with  the  other  work  of  the 
school,  but  that  there  was  a  spirit  of  union  which  gave  vitality 
to  the  art,  and  depth  and  richness  to  the  other  work.  It  recog- 
nized that  art  work  involves  physical  organs,  the  eye  and  hand, 
the  ear  and  voice,  however,  ideally.  As  Mr.  Dewey  has  some- 
where said,  "It  is  something  more  than  the  mere  technical  skill 
required  by  the  organs  of  expression;  it  involves  an  idea,  a 
thought,  a  spiritual  rendering  of  things,  and  yet  it  is  other 
than  any  number  of  ideas  by  themselves,  it  is  a  living  union  o£ 
thought  and  the  instrument  of  expression."  It  was  dimly 
realized,  therefore,  that  the  artistic  attitude  is  the  ideal  atti- 
tude of  interest,  and  that  if  a  child  could  be  animated  by  such 
interest,  he  would  bring  forth  results  in  his  activities  that 
would  be  accompanied  by  an  enrichment  of  his  intellectual 
and  emotional  life.  As  the  woodwork,  drawing,  painting,  music, 
language,  or  drama  proved  an  aid  in  extending  the  meaning 
of  what  a  child  did  and  gave  a  motive  to  develop  technique, 
it  also  enlarged  into  the  realm  of  an  artistic  means  of  expres- 
sion. 

It  was  always  a  hope  that  each  child  would  enjoy  every  sub- 
ject studied  at  some,  if  not  all,  phases  of  its  development  and 
thus  grow  into  something  of  a  sense  of  its  esthetic  quality.  This 
appreciation  of  the  quality  of  a  subject  depends  upon  the  stand- 
ards that  the  child,  at  one  time  or  another,  has  formed  of  its 
value  in  his  immediate  experience.  It  also  depends  upon  how 
the  range  of  his  inevitably  limited  direct  experience  has  been 
enlarged  and  deepened  in  its  meaning  through  language  and  all 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     349 

symbolic  forms  of  intercourse  with  the  similar  experiences  of 
others.  As  these  connections  multiplied,  the  children  liked 
more  and  more  to  share  the  meaning  of  their  activities  and  dis- 
covered that  language  was  a  good  tool  for  telling  about  them. 
They  also  became  more  able  and  willing  to  listen  sympatheti- 
cally to  the  accounts  of  others.  Thoughts  took  form  -in  words. 
Certain  words  or  arrangements  of  words  expressed  thoughts 
better  than  others  and,  when  arranged  in  a  certain  order,  ex- 
pressed it  more  clearly  and  more  beautifully.  Little  by  little  be- 
cause its  use  was  daily  and  hourly  related  to  his  living,  the  child 
came  to  realize  that  language  was  the  medium,  par  excellence, 
for  telling  about  his  actions  and  thoughts.  Step  by  step  he  woke 
to  its  inherent  value  and  beauty. 

LITERARY  EXPRESSION 

The  need  to  formulate  the  meaning  of  their  activities,  either 
in  conversation  or  in  an  oral  or  written  report,  in  recipe  or 
rule  for  procedure,  in  mathematics  or  in  the  laboratory,  in 
verse  for  songs,  or  in  dramatic  form  for  formal  plays,  arose 
for  the  most  part  out  of  the  actual  situation  of  the  classroom 
or  the  imagined  ones  of  the  historical  times  they  were  reliving. 
All  actions,  involving  as  they  did  constant  communication  of 
all  sorts,  developed  great  freedom  of  expression  and  inter- 
course. Conversations  and  discussions  formed  the  basis  out 
of  which  ability  to  debate  developed.  Oral  reports  grew  to 
monologues  and  took  on  a  vague  similarity  to  the  oration, 
while  written  reports  from  words  and  short  sentences  grew 
with  enlarging  horizons  and  developing  ability  and  skill  to 
essays,  biographies,  or  stories.  These  also  gradually  took  on 
the  form  of  artistic  expression.  Because  they  formulated  the 
meaning  of  each  child's  actual  experience,  they  were  often 
tinged  with  the  flavor  of  his  own  imaginative  interpretation 
and  brought  home  to  him,  as  to  others,  the  vitality  of  his  ex- 
perience. 

Clarity  and  simple,  forceful  use  of  words  were  ideals  sought 
for  the  children  in  their  reports  which  were  often  reviews  of 
the  day's,  the  week's,  or  the  term's  work.  Through  the  use  of 


35o  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

the  school's  printing-press  by  the  older  children,  dictated  re- 
ports of  those  children,  not  yet  able  to  use  the  written  sym- 
bols, were  made  available  as  reading  lessons.  These  took  on 
such  form  as: 

We  can  sew. 

Suppose  you  had  no  needle? 

"What  would  you  do  for  clothing? 

Some  boys  say  they  would  wear  a  goat's  skin. 

The  youngest  children,  for  the  most  part,  acted  out  their 
songs  and  stories,  getting  thus  a  clearer  idea  of  them  and  a 
greater  sympathy  with  the  characters.  These  plays  and  stories 
continually  increased  in  scope  and  content.  The  three-  and 
four-year-olds,  in  their  occupational  plays  such  as  that  of  the 
dry  goods  store,  were  usually  content  with  the  mere  activity  of 
buying  and  selling,  without  specifying  what  they  wished  to 
buy.  At  five  years  they  carried  out  their  plays  in  minute  detail, 
and  had  the  cashier,  cash  boys,  clerks,  bundle-wrappers,  and 
a  horse  and  delivery  wagon,  using  the  vocabulary  and  char- 
acteristic dramatic  expressions.  They  bought  only  things  found 
in  dry-goods  stores  and  often  tried  them  on  to  see  if  they  would 
fit.  The  dramas  of  Group  IV  (seven  years)  were  of  their  history, 
the  study  of  primitive  life. 

It  was  found  that  when  the  children  wrote  their  own  read- 
ing lessons,  their  reading  was  purely  memory  work.  So  the 
teacher  resorted  to  composing  certain  key  sentences  herself. 
With  these  to  start  from,  the  children  supplied  the  background 
of  detail,  showing  a  great  interest  in  the  composition,  changing 
the  sentences  when  they  were  not  euphonious  or  suggesting 
words  that  might  sound  better.  On  occasion,  pauses  were 
made  to  discuss  the  words  under  consideration  and  some  for 
blackboard  work  in  the  building  of  words.  When  interest  in 
such  technique  flagged,  the  composition  was  continued.  The 
teacher 8  of  seven-year-olds  reported: 

The  materials  which  were  chosen  for  their  reading  lessons  were 
taken  chiefly  from  their  history,  with  occasional  changes  to  other 
subjects,  shop-work,  or  cooking.  It  soon  became  evident  that  their 


8  Wynne  Laskerstein. 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION     351 

power  to  give  a  definite  account  of  their  work  and  their  interest  in 
doing  it  were  in  direct  ratio  to  the  degree  of  activity  involved  in 
the  original  lesson.  It  was  often  impossible  to  obtain  a  clear  state- 
ment of  their  history,  even  on  the  day  in  which  it  had  been  pre- 
sented to  them,  and  frequently  different  members  of  the  group  would 
give  contradictory  statements  with  regard  to  the  most  essential  point. 
But  whenever  hand-work  was  the  subject  of  discussion  they  recalled 
with  comparative  ease  the  desired  details. 

A  notably  successful  lesson  was  the  result  of  a  talk  about  the 
making  of  their  looms.  Sentences  were  put  on  the  blackboard  by 
the  teacher  as  the  children  gave  them  and  were  read  and  reread  by 
the  class.  A  list  was  made  of  the  new  words,  chiefly  names  of  tools, 
and  a  drill  upon  these  was  given  by  acting  out  the  uses  of  the 
various  tools.  Individual  children  were  chosen  to  direct  the  action 
by  pointing  to  certain  words  or  to  find  on  the  blackboard  the  name 
of  the  tool  which  the  others  were  using.  The  children  were  delighted 
with  the  lesson.  The  next  day  they  were  eager  to  write  the  new  words 
and  spent  the  entire  period  at  the  blackboard  without  signs  of  fa- 
tigue. They  called  this  writing  "putting  the  tools  in  their  shop," 
and  one  boy  insisted  upon  buying  each  tool  from  the  teacher  before 
he  wrote  its  name,  gravely  proffering  imaginary  money  and  insisting 
that  the  tool  be  wrapped  up  in  paper  and  duly  delivered. 

*  In  the  next  quarter  the  reading  for  the  group  was  based 
on  the  history  work— a  study  of  primitive  man.  In  the  begin- 
ning much  time  was  devoted  to  keeping  a  record  of  their 
study,  which  was  printed  by  the  older  groups.  Book  covers 
were  made,  and  the  records  were  used  as  reading  lessons.  They 
then  began  to  retell  the  story  of  Ab  which  one  of  the  teachers 
had  read  to  them.  This  extended  from  day  to  day.  Much  of  it 
was  dictated  by  the  children.  The  language  of  the  original 
story  was  drawn  on  freely,  but  the  thought  was  so  padded  with 
their  own  imaginative  thinking  that  in  the  end  it  came  to  be 
a  new  story  of  their  own.  Additional  characters  were  intro- 
duced who  operated  in  different  situations  according  to  the 
children's  original  plan.  The  story  speaks  for  itself,  indicating 
a  growing  appreciation  and  increasing  skill  of  expression.  In 
their  compositions  they  were  kept  to  simple  sentence  structure, 
but  no  limit  was  put  on  vocabulary.  As  each  child  gave  his 
part,  it  was  written  on  the  board  for  the  others  to  read.  Much 
time  was  spent  each  day  in  picking  out  familiar  words  and 

*  Teacher,  Margaret  Hoblitt. 


THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

learning  new  ones  from  their  reading  lessons.  The  origin  and 
phonetics  of  these  were  often  discussed. 

Most  of  the  children  in  this  group  had  not  at  that  time 
reached  any  degree  of  ease  in  reading,  but  all  had  a  desire  to 
read.  Four  of  them  had  done  a  little  reading  in  books,  be- 
ginning with  the  simple  repetitive  stories  such  as  "Henny 
Penny"  and  "Cock  Robin.*'  They  had  not  yet  reached  the  stage 
of  doing  any  independent  writing,  although  as  a  group  they 
wrote  two  scenes  of  a  dramatic  play  based  on  the  story  of 
primitive  people*  Individual  children  suggested  the  dialogue, 
and  the  others  agreed  or  changed  it  until  they  were  all  satis- 
fied. This  work  was  then  written  on  the  board  for  the  class  to 
copy. 

As  Group  V,  these  children  followed  their  Phoenician  sailors 
to  the  Mediterranean  seaport  of  Venice  and  thence  embarked 
on  a  study  of  the  world  wanderings  of  explorers.  The  best 
available  story  of  the  life  of  each  explorer  was  read  by  the 
children.  They  then  summed  up  the  chief  points  and  wrote 
their  own  records.  The  books  containing  these  stories  were 
left  where  the  children  could  get  them  and  read  further  if 
they  so  desired.  The  life  of  Columbus  came  first,  and  the  pres- 
ence in  Jackson  Park  of  the  models  of  the  Nina,  Pinta,  Santa 
Maria,  and  the  convent  of  La  Rabida  added  interest  to  the 
story.  These  written  reports  culminated  in  a  play  about 
Columbus  which  was  written  for  and  produced  at  one  of  the 
general  assemblies.  Its  production  involved  much  constructive, 
as  well  as  expressive,  effort  and  finally  drew  into  cooperation 
most  of  the  school.5 

At  ten  years  of  age,  Group  VII  was  interested  in  arithmetic 
to  such  an  extent  that  they  undertook  the  writing  of  a  text- 
book. The  children  composed  many  of  their  own  problems,  and 
considerable  attention  was  given  in  this  group  and  in  Group 
IX  to  the  formal  statement  of  generalizations  in  concise  and 
finished  English.  The  latter  group  was  much  interested  in  the 
logic  of  the  syllogistic  statement.  Better  order  in  the  written 
work  was  an  aim  which  seemed  of  great  imporance  at  this 

5  For  a  statement  of  the  language  expression  of  Group  VI,  see  Chapter 
VIII. 


DEVELOPING  SKILLS  IN  EXPRESSION      353 

age  to  one  of  the  most  successful  teachers  of  mathematics,  for 
with  the  ability  to  formulate  and  arrange  in  exact  and  logical 
fashion  went  a  commensurate  increase  in  self-confidence. 

In  science,  too,  the  most  successful  statements  of  the  results 
of  observation  or  experimentation  were  those  that  expressed 
the  meaning  of  things  seen  or  experienced  so  that  they  were 
understood,  and  became  significant  and  indicative  of  new  pos- 
sibilities to  mutually  interested  individuals.  Knowledge  of  the 
right  words,  of  sentence  structure  necessary  to  the  formal  state- 
ment of  facts  observed,  problems  to  be  solved,  the  premises  of 
an  hypothesis,  or  the  conclusive  evidence  of  an  experiment— 
all  were  points  of  skill  necessary  for  each  child  in  order  that 
he  might  make  his  daily  observations  and  experiences  in  the 
laboratory  or  the  field  excursion  successful  and,  therefore, 
intelligible  and  vitally  significant  to  his  group.  For  adequate 
and  successful  interpretation  of  the  scientific  meanings  of  his 
daily  life,  so  that  they  were  progressively  helpful  in  new  ex- 
periences, both  to  himself  and  others,  a  child  must  have  a  suit- 
able scientific  vocabulary  and  an  adequate  technique  in  ex- 
pression. The  children  planned  as  a  group  and  talked  over 
their  experiments  in  advance,  but  each  child  wrote  an  in- 
dividual report  of  his  own  work. 

This  group,  dissatisfied  with  their  Dewey  School  song,  wished 
to  write  something  more  dignified  and  from  their  study  of 
literature  took  the  subject  of  the  Adventures  of  Odysseus.  In 
the  composition  of  both  music  and  poem  they  sought  to  use 
as  many  beautiful  phrases  and  expressions  as  possible. 

ODYSSEUS 

Land  not  here!  For  here  dwell  the  Kine  of  the  Sun, 

And  Zeus  would  send  a  thunderbolt  should  you  in  your  hunger  harm 

one. 

Yet  they  heeded  not  my  words, 
But  beached  their  ships  upon  the  shore, 
And  when  I  woke  from  sleep, 
I  found  the  roasting  flesh  midst  fires  roar. 

Hence  sailed  we  on  mid  storm  and  wind  and  wave 
And  nearer  to  our  Fate  we  drew— striving  our  lives  to  save- 
In  vain,  for  I  alone  escaped, 


354  THE  DEWEY  SCHOOL 

And  drifted  toward  the  fatal  rock 
Where  dire  Charybdis  sucks  the  sea 
And  casts  it  forth  with  fearful  shock. 

Once  again,  saved  by  Athena  the  fair, 

I  drifted  toward  a  flowery  isle,  and  quietly  slumbered  there. 

Then  down  the  beach  Calypso  came 

And  to  her  grotto  welcomed  me. 

Mid  clustering  vines  and  rippling  streams 

For  years  I  rested  peacefully. 

At  the  dose  of  another  ten  weeks  of  work  (two  and  one  half 
periods  each  week  and  one  period  of  a  half-hour  of  study  hour) 
the  individual  records  of  Group  VIII  (eleven  years)  were 
"pieced  together"  to  form  a  connected  story  of  the  formation  of 
calcareous  and  sedimentary  rocks  in  detail,  and  of  land  in 
general.  Oral  and  written  language  were  given  separate  con- 
sideration only  with  Group  VIII  in  a  course  of  English.  Groups 
VII,  VIII,  and  IX  took  over  a  good  share  of  the  printing  of 
songs,  poems,  reading  lessons,  programs,  records,  or  plays  in 
English,  French,  or  German  for  the  whole  school. 

Latin,  French,  and  German  were  studied  in  the  secondary 
period.  The  various  teachers  cooperated  closely,  and  a  correla- 
tive study  of  word  derivations  and  problems  of  syntax  and 
grammar  in  each  language  was  developed.  At  one  time  the 
same  person  taught  both  Latin  and  English.  Contemporaneous 
with  a  study  of  English  village  life,  an  attempt  was  made  to 
gather  together,  interrelate,  and  unify  all  the  previous  lan- 
guage experience  of  the  oldest  groups  in  the  school.  Group  XI 
(fourteen  years)  had  had  little  formal  work  in  English,  most 
of  their  grammar  having  been  acquired  in  the  collateral  study 
of  French  and  Latin.  Their  general  reading  of  the  classics  had 
been  limited.  A  critical  analysis  of  one  of  Shakespeare's  plays 
was  undertaken.  This  was  followed  by  further  critical  work 
which  i